Few people are fortunate enough to have their lives play out in a straightforward path. Yes, there are those rare people who, from a young age, knew exactly what they wanted to be when they grew up. But for most of us, the journey is not that clear. Life is filled with zigs and zags that eventually nudge us in the direction we need to go.
I am a perfect example of that zigging and zagging. I grew up living and working on a farm, and my first real job was as a disc jockey on a polka music radio station in Wisconsin. Before you write me an email and ask – yes, I am serious. From there, my life took me to film school, to education publishing, construction publishing, sales and all kinds of places in between.
It was nothing resembling a straightforward path, and, frankly, I wouldn’t have it any other way. There have been plenty of ups and downs, and I wouldn’t trade any of them. Of course, the ups are great, but it’s the downs where you really gain perspective and appreciation for what life has to offer.
It doesn’t matter who you are and what you do, this is a truth that seems to transcend all boundaries and applies to all of us. That includes athletes at all levels, who often are very focused on training and honing their skills, but can be just as zigged and zagged in life as the rest of us.
In this issue of Triangle Sports, we are proud to include a profile of Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton. As you’ll see in the article, Cam has an absolutely incredible list of accomplishments, awards and stats. But even for someone playing at his level, it has not been an easy or straightforward path. Just like anyone else, he has had to battle through adversity to get to where he is.
Having not known a lot about Cam’s life before the NFL, I was struck by the fact that he started his college career at University of Florida, but was injured and found himself at a junior college questioning whether football was even the right path for him. He truly was at a crossroads in his life.
Looking back on that time, Cam says, “Crossroads are good. Crossroads allow your character to grow and for you to become the best version of yourself.”
And, clearly, that proved to be true for Cam Newton. At Florida, he was backing up Tim Tebow. Had he stayed there, who knows where his path would have taken him? But because he went another way, he eventually found himself back in football, playing at Auburn, where he had an amazing season. He won the Heisman Trophy and went on to great success in the NFL. His time at the crossroads helped him get there.
In sports and in life, we all face crossroads. Sometimes the best laid plans can blow up in our faces, but the key is to find the lesson and move on to something even better. For all his successes in sports, I think that is the most inspiring part of Cam Newton’s story.
We often focus on the athletic high moments in this magazine, and certainly there are many to be found in the Triangle. It is those moments that Howard Cosell called “the thrill of victory.” But for each one of those, there is always “the agony of defeat.” True champions are the ones who take those low moments to help build themselves up.
As always, there are all kinds of inspiring stories in this issue of Triangle Sports. In this issue, we recap the thrilling results from the USA Track and Field Youth Outdoor Championships, which were held in Durham in June. Exceptional young athletes from all around the country came together in the spirit of competition and had an amazing event.
I hope you find these stories as inspiring as I do. Enjoy the issue and, as always, please share your stories with us! If you or someone you know has a sports story to share, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.