Dear Athlete: Praise and the Unseen


I’ll start by saying this: when I smoke I LOVE chatting. About life and the ins and outs of success and death and how to make it in life but Nicole isn’t home most of the time so it’s me and me. Last night she was sitting on the couch and I came to smoke and decided to just chat it up with her because i had a listening ear and I had something on my mind (like I always do)….so I’ll be real, this was how it went:

Me: “Babe, I feel I don’t get enough recognition for my body. Like I don’t see anyone walking around like that. 

Her: “Well everyone looks at you and stares at you in regards to respect.”

Me: “BUT I NEVER SEE THEM LOOKING!!! I see nothing. Those “good jobs” or “you look amazing” or “good lift” feels good sometimes. Not in terms of me myself and how hot I am but as far as my craft and the amount of work I devote to it. Same with my business. 

Her: “I think you’re so used of sports growing up and having a coach telling you good job everyday and teammates patting you on the ass after every great catch and every wrestling pin you got congratulated but it’s not like that anymore.”

Me: “Damn. I never even thought of that.” *presses record

And it’s true! I never thought of the way I was conditioned growing up. All my life I’ve been in sports. In high school I was a 4 sport athlete. Wrestling, football, pole vault, and bowling. In 3 of them I was a contender for a state title. I won 2 back to back in wrestling. Bowling, not so much. BUT DONT PLAY WITH ME!! I still have skills LOL anywho, after every takedown my coach would tell me good job. After each point I can hear “good job goodie!!!” In my corner. In practice, even a simple catch gets a pat on my ass. A great catch? The entire team is telling me hell of a catch along with head slaps and hugs appreciating what I’ve just done. Every touchdown, I’m celebrated even if it’s for a minute. If I catch this pass I know my quarterback will run up to me so fast and hug me and thank me for catching that and scoring!!! Every clearance of height on a pole vault attempt my track coach was right there with his clip board averaging out team scores when I come out in 1st. Every strike in bowling was followed by a hand shake or head slap from Jamel and Jamol. At every stage I was recognized for everything I did.

Not by choice. I’m just an athlete and that’s what we do. 

Well after my athlete days, as I transitioned into corporate America ….I didn’t have that day to day recognition. I had a manager in my face telling me how I could be so much better every day every day everyday. Getting called into the office for bullshit all the time. Negative negative negative which is why I would hate every damn morning driving to that place. I couldn’t survive in that environment because it was far from how I was conditioned. I’m conditioned with praise because it makes me work so much harder!!! In a way I don’t do this for me. I do it for my coach too. My team. That’s what makes me feel good. My entire team winning. I want to win because it’ll make them happy but in a 9-5 environment, no praise was given to me. I had to battle through everyday. Wondering wtf am I doing here. 

Now that I’m a full time business owner and operator, I still find myself searching for that praise. I always tell Nicole how like no one sees me and I work so damn hard and recognition comes NONE. My work always goes unseen is what I told her then she said something that made me stop and think so hard. 

High School…………..LMAO

She said, “Well at this age praise don’t come from a coach or your teammates. It may come in different forms. Maybe the guys in the gym looking at you all the time is a form of that kind of praise or a guy asking you out of everyone in the gym to spot him is a form of admiration. When Will tell you good job after a crazy set is a form of praise. When your best friends text you and say good stuff or whatever, that’s another form. Even people staring at you all the time is a form of the “pat on the ass” you’re so used to.” 

And she’s right. And I never noticed. 

At this age, when sports is all over and done, many ex-athletes who were in organized sports their whole life like myself still look for that praise and good job and slap on the ass when we do something great….but to all of you out there who can relate to me, it’s you and you for the most part. It’s time to be a big boy. We don’t need the day to day congrats anymore. I’m now at a level where I SHOULD KNOW what I bring to a table without them telling me it was needed. I’m a stage where I can’t depend on the applause after every catch, every order, every amazing lift, every smile on Nicole’s face. I should KNOW the value I have. The praise may come in a different form. It’s not that you’re doing anything wrong or not as good as you once were….it’s just that the praise is a little different these days. Haha definitely takes some getting used to…🙏🏾🙏🏾

2009 State Finals where I would go on to win the 2nd of my 2 state championships.

I just thought it was an awesome conversation between her and I that I would like to share and had an awakening to why I’m operating how I’m operating. It was cool to think a little deeper. 

Thanks for reading of course!! 

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