After an incredible week seeing everyone in Belfast, I was left with a long, dreary eight-hour bus ride home. As I tried to sleep and hoped the time would fly by, I couldn’t help reflect how lucky I was to be in this position in life. I don’t know if it was the incredible Irish landscapes flying by my window, or the fact that the Apple store in Belfast had fixed my broken iPhone that hadn’t been working for two weeks, but either way I was as content as one could be. This made me realize how lucky I am to be here, and how thankful I am for everyone that played a part in my life.
First off, I’m thankful to the Sport Changes Life program and everyone affiliated with it for making this incredible opportunity possible. Not only has this program let me follow my dreams of continuing my athletic and academic careers, but it has also allowed me to continue doing something I love in working with kids and teaching them the game of basketball. This program has also introduced me to 22 amazing people that have truly had an impact on my life. This group of scholars is something special, and I can’t imagine tackling this adventure with any other bunch of individuals. I am also very thankful for my Neptune family and all the great people I have met in Cork. I am lucky to have such fun-loving teammates and such a passionate coaching staff, that has helped make this such an easy transition. I am also thankful for everyone back at St. Mary’s. During my time at St. Mary’s College I met some incredible people that I will consider lifelong friends. The relationships I created and bonds that were forged helped me develop as a person and grow into the man I am today. That is something that I will be forever grateful for. I am also very thankful for the family friends and high school friends I have in Baltimore. Even though my family has moved and I no longer have an actual house in Baltimore, I know I will always have a home there because of all the great people I have grown so close to during my lifetime growing up there. However, most importantly, I am thankful for my family. Too often I take for granted everything they have given me, and all the sacrifices they have made for me to get here. The last four years has brought many challenges, and I can’t say enough how thankful I am for my family’s help along the way. No matter where my parents were geographically at that time, I always knew they would make it to my basketball games and be my biggest supporters. And even though my mom still gets scared every time I shoot, seeing them in the stands has put a smile on my face throughout my entire college career. My parents and my sister have pushed me to pursue my goals and I would not have been able to achieve all that I have without them. It has been extremely hard to be living so far away from them, but I know that no matter where they are, my family is always supporting me.