In my youth, I found it difficult to find myself, especially when trying to fit in with the “cool” kids. Most of us have been there. Two questions that I often asked myself were: who am I and what do I find important? As an athlete, there is a stigma—a certain stereotype—on who you are allowed to be. However, I knew I didn’t fit it. I was more than a great athlete, more than a jock, and I refused to be relegated to such an expectation. The time that I took to find myself was out of curiosity. I wanted to know my identity through this discovery.
As I grew athletically, I started to show D1 potential. A certain expectation followed. I knew that I had great athletic talent, but also knew I was great in other areas of life, too. In the summer going into my senior year, my older brother, Austin, and I were in charge of taking our younger brother, DeLorean, to his soccer game in Kentucky. On the way back, Austin and I dove into a heartfelt conversation where I expressed to him my burden on who I was. I expressed my concern with being put into one box and following what others expected for my life. It was like fighting a personal battle within. He said to me, “Tre football isn’t who you are, it’s what you do.” His words had a profound depth and that moment changed my life.
It clicked. The only person who can keep me in a box is myself. I’m in charge of my life and who I am. I went on to earn a Division 1 scholarship to Miami (OH) University, while also excelling in academics. I graduated with athletic honors, while involving myself in multiple leadership opportunities. Furthermore, I became an executive in the biggest diversity organization on campus, studied abroad, and even being a senator for our campus student government. In a nutshell, that conversation with my brother changed my life: one small flame can turn into a roaring fire. That roaring fire was finding my identity, which then allowed me to find peace within myself.
Today, I continue chasing and tackling all of my dreams. I have learned that I can either let myself be confined to a box, or I can reach for the sky, which has been said to have no limits. I thank all my parents and siblings for keeping me level headed, my coaches for pushing me, my friends for support, and most important my God for making us special. As a young man in my twenties, it is important to find the thing that makes you most alive. When you have that, you experience a peace like never before. I feel that I am well on my way.
Interviewer and editor: Monica Murphy
Story by: Tre Gammage