Flashback two weeks from this day, I was meeting 33 young people wearing the same golf shirt in different colors. Just like me, these people were accepted into the Sport Changes Life program as Victory Scholars.
Thirty-four strangers jumped on a bus, sat down and were taken to Hartford Connecticut to begin this once in a lifetime experience.
Now flash forward to September 1st, the day I had to say goodbye to my new friends.
When you first read my title you probably suspected it was about my family and friends back home. While I love and miss my family and friends dearly, I knew I was going to have to say those words before traveling to Ireland. BUT, what I did not expect, was having to say a sad goodbye to my fellow scholars on the September 1st.
Here is what I wrote on September 1st, on the bus from Belfast to Dublin.
“I am so blessed, but I am sad. Why sad? Because I just met thirty-three amazing people and now we are leaving each other. I am honored to be selected as one of the 34 victory scholars this year. I am a part of something truly fantastic and to have thirty-three people around me that all have the same aspirations and goals as I do makes this experience that much better.
This past week blew my expectations away. To think that I just gained thirty-three close friends in a matter of a week is remarkable. I am thankful for the Sport Changes Life staff for selecting such amazing people to be a part of their mission. This past week the scholars scrimmaged, went to a fundraiser soccer game, met young kids from the St. Peter’s Immaculata Youth Club, worked with young kids in the eHoops program, ate pizza (lots of pizza), and explored downtown Belfast. To say the least the Sport Changes Life staff kept us quite busy. We were forced to get out of our comfort zone and enjoy the quality time we had together. And for that I am grateful, because as I said I connected and became close with these great people.
I AM EXCITED. I am excited because I know I will see these people again. I am excited because I know wherever they are going in Ireland, they will make a difference in that community. We were all selected and placed at each school/ area for a particular reason and I believe every one of my fellow scholars is going to change lives.
As I sit on this bus heading to Dublin I cannot be more appreciative of my life and how sport really changed my life to a path where I not only have been selected to change lives in the communities of Ireland, but I have gained thirty-three friends along the way… and it’s only week one.”
As you can see I was extremely sad to say goodbye to my new friends but excited for our futures. I really cannot thank Sport Changes Life enough for selecting me to join their family, and putting me in the position to meet thirty-three of the greatest people that will forever be close to me.