Cincinnati Moeller ‘94
Junior College LA Valley Junior College
Youngstown State University ’98 (full scholarship)
For me, the first thing I think about is when I was finished playing at age 22. The strict schedule, classes, football practices, film and weight room activities had all been laid out for me but then there’s this…. “what’s next feeling?” A feeling that really takes years to get beyond. After sports was over, I lost the sport of playing football after finishing my last year and now I was asking myself what was next because I didn’t know. I just loved football; it was all I thought about and the pursuit of a scholarship was my only focus the majority of the first part of my life and trying to find myself in the next chapter of life was difficult. I had to go back and remember some of the things I was taught in football that were instilled in me. Hard work, being coachable, dedicated and passionate, so I transitioned a lot of those same attributes I learned in the past and used them to get into pharmaceutical sales and eventually into medical device sales. Spending the past 14 years in Healthcare Sales I’ve always kept in mind all these things that I learned in sports to be successful for this next chapter in life. I believe what Check Your Game means to me is applying those same things into the next chapter of my life which I’m currently in 20 years later.
I would tell young athletes to make sure they get everything out of sports while they can because there will be a time when it all ends. It ends for all of us and typically before we’re ready for it to be over. Be coachable, teachable, work hard and learn how to deal with all types of people and have a game plan when you’re finished in order to begin to find out what you may be interested in. Why not ask yourself if your sport was taken away forever, what would you be interested in? Another way to look at it would be to ask yourself what is the one thing you would like to do every day even if you didn’t get paid for it? These are two questions you can ask yourself to begin thinking about your future even if you’re a young athlete because the sooner you figure this out, the better off you’ll be. Being an athlete requires several different skill sets and characteristics, and traits. You shouldn’t stop implementing them just because you’re done playing.
You started a no-profit called the GamePlan. Can you tell me a little more about this? Well, I started this program to be able reach kids in the community to be better prepared for the game of life because life can be hard and some of our youth face insurmountable obstacles and challenges to be able to navigate life. We are now partnering with the Friar’s Club to help implement our programs which provides mentoring, motivational speaking and a leadership Academy to at risk youth. In a nutshell, we are preparing future leaders with personal development and advancement life skills they need.
You played under a legendary football Coach, Jim Tressel while at Youngstown State University. What do you remember from him that might be valuable to others? There are so many things I remember but one quote actually is a Bible verse that comes from Luke 12:48 and it says, “…to whom much is given, much will be required.” Basically telling us daily, the more you accomplish, grow and learn the more that will be expected and required of you. In sports and in life.
Troy, the first time I met you on the golf course, I liked you. As I've gotten to know you more, I understand why you started your non-profit. It makes sense that you went through life as an athlete and came out of that period wondering what to do. I felt the same. It's very interesting that both of us are from Cincinnati, football players, wore the #41 and also have a passion to help kids in the "game of life!" Thanks for your transparency and especially the time that is involved to give back on a much bigger scale by helping young student athletes for their future. And lastly, I love what you said to me in regards to a question an athlete can ask themselves in order to see what they are truly passionate about and that was, "if your sport was taken away forever, what would you do?" Great question for all athletes to ask themselves. I wish I would've asked myself that question when I was young. Thanks again! -Gary Rogers