Wounded Warriors remind me football is not real life

This Saturday we are sporting different jerseys for the Missouri game in honor of the wounded men and women of the armed forces. This is for an organization called the Wounded Warrior Project. The jerseys will be auctioned off after the game. The more I have thought about what The Wounded Warrior Project means, the more I realize how fortunate I am to get to do what I do every week and that is play a game. Not only do I get to play a game, I get to play a game that I love. Not only do I get to play a game that I love, I get to play a game that pays for my education.

According to the website antiwar.com, there has been a total of 4,427 people killed (3,496 in combat) and roughly 32,900 soldiers injured since the war in Iraq began. I have been enrolled at Texas Tech for more than 1,700 days playing football and pursuing my education. So for every day that I have been enrolled in school at Tech,an average of almost 3 people have died and 19 were injured. I get to play a game. You get to watch and cheer. While I put on my cleats, shoulder pads and helmet to go to play a game, someone is putting on their combat boots, flak jacket and dog tags to grant me the freedom to do so. People give their lives to grant us this freedom. If that’s not humbling, I don’t know what is.

That’s why I say that football is not life. It drives me crazy when I hear people say, “Football is life.” Football is a game. Football is entertaining. Football is fun. Football is not life. I just want to thank everyone who is in the armed forces.

If for some reason you’re not in a good mood today, cheer up because a feral cat could have chased you to your car this morning (happened to me last week). I’m going to go ahead and declare this day the best day ever? Seriously take a minute to think about why today is awesome (insert time to think here). Ok, I’ll tell you why today is the best day ever. The reason that today is the best day ever is because you are reading this column! Before you start to think “real cool Baron way to be humble” let me explain. For you to be able to read this column that means that you woke up today and are alive. You can’t complain about being alive, it sure beats the alternative! You’re alive if you’re reading this and that is a blessing. Don’t go through the motions. Tomorrow is far from guaranteed. Enjoy your ride!

As of late Saturday I was stumped on what to write about. I was seriously close to closing my laptop and calling it a night, but in ordinary fashion my writer’s block was removed from a seemingly random event (thanks, God). I received a text message from a Dallas area code that wasn’t intended for me, and this is what it said, ”Enjoy the ride, it doesn’t last long!” I texted back the random person asking whom they were and if their text was intended for me. Quickly they realized they texted the wrong number explaining that one of their friends was about to ride “Mr. Freeze” at Six Flags. Thanks random Dallas person! You just made me realize something really awesome; hopefully I can put together my thoughts so they make sense.

Here we go! Follow along.

Ok, so if you have ever rode Mr. Freeze at Six Flags you will know that it doesn’t last that long. It’s a pretty quick roller coaster ride, and it almost seems like it’s over before it starts. It doesn’t last long but can seriously make you puke (I had a friend this summer who Mr. Freeze dominated).

When you get on Mr. Freeze there are two things that could happen:

1) You will have a blast, hold your hands up in the air in typical roller-coaster fashion and enjoy every moment of the ride.

2) You will be scared to death holding on to the front rail, eyes closed, and praying for the ride to be over (and then puke afterwards).

It’s always interesting to see people’s faces after they get off the rides at Six Flags because you can tell if they had a blast or if they were terrified and regret getting on the ride.

The football season is more than halfway over and my college career is coming to a close as well. I have been in Lubbock for five years now. Last week one of the guys on the team said this “B-Batch, you’ve been here forever, I was you for Halloween… in the 9th grade!”

I graduate in December and I’m about to start another chapter of my life. My ride is about to be over in Lubbock, and before I know it I’ll be waiting in line to get on another ride in a different amusement park.

“Enjoy the ride, it doesn’t last long.” Those words are so true! Just like Mr. Freeze, life flies by and can make your head spin. You can either enjoy every moment of it with your hands held high, or you can be strapped in clinging for dear life, eyes closed, not enjoying the ride at all and regretting that you ever got on.

I pray that when my ride is over I can say I had a blast; hands held high with my eyes open the whole way (even if I threw up a little).

So enjoy your ride! Throw your hands up in typical roller-coaster fashion, and don’t be afraid of puking because sometimes certain rides can do that. This week’s food for thought is short and sweet: Are you enjoying your ride or holding on for dear life? Wreck em’ and God bless.

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Advocacy and Human Rights