My mom was a huge help. She gave me a piece of paper with a line down the middle and told me to write what I wanted in a school on the left and what I didn’t want on the right. Exhaust yourself and don’t hold back, she said.
I had never done this exercise before, but even before I did it I knew it was going to be a huge help. The first thing I wanted was for basketball to not be so serious. I liked to play, but didn’t want the intensity of a Division 1 program. Something challenging yet less structured would be perfect.
Second, I wanted to have a social life. I wanted to meet people, have friends, and establish relationships. I also preferred to be driving distance from the beach in New Jersey, although I wasn’t sure why.
Finally, I wrote that I wanted to be “The Man” again. I was sick of getting pushed around and being a bum. I wanted to re-find the swag and confidence I hadn’t experienced in a long time.
I kept the paper around and looked at it often because my mom said that if I consistently visualized what I wrote, it would soon become a reality. I had my doubts but figured I needed all the help I could get.
While looking for colleges, my mom also got me in touch with a landscaper who needed help with basic lawn care. Working for him, it felt good to perform some manual labor and make some money.
This was how I started creating a plan for my life in athletics.