Finding joy in the outdoors since 1988
Often times we search for answers, but in my opinion we really search for validation. Questions about what we can handle. Can I do it? That's the beauty of surviving adventure. I want to know that I can pull through a challenge where victory isn't certain; where survival isn't certain. I yearn to be tested, as a man I need that test. Today we lack the ritual of that test; it's just not built-in to our upbringing like it used to be. Think about it, defending yourself against the bully, making the cut on the high school sports team, earning the A in that tough class with the hardest teacher. In times of the past it used to be a familiar avenue to serve in the armed forces (Navy, Army, Coast Guard, etc..) before searching for a career.
Do we have anything that puts us to the test and let's us know if were good enough to make the cut of independence outside our parents home?
I've heard the average age most kids move out of the nest now is age 26! Now sure times are hard with the economy and jobs aren't as plentiful, but do we help ourselves? Can we honestly say that we try every avenue to be the best us we can be? I thought I was an exception to the rite of passage, like I knew who I was and what I was capable of. I went to college, listened pretty well in school, played all the sports I could, didn't get in too much trouble growing up so everything should work out great right?
No, Its not; I didn't earn it yet.
There is one phase in my life that I have used as my assessment of readiness, it won't be the same for you, but the feeling that your activity stirs up within your heart WILL BE the same.
The college football stage.
I played small time division 3 college football. You must love football to play at that level.
There is no fame.
Not extras except; the chance to play another competitive down of the game.
I had times that I wanted to quit. Times where I was alone. Times when my body felt as if it were broken. Times when I dreaded hearing the 5:00 alarm. Time when coaches literally scolded me like a puppy. One thing remained at my center throughout the process, I couldn't give up. I decided that I am willing to die in order to conquer this phase. Many were not. We started with 120 freshman, in days there just 40 left, by the time of our graduation only 7 survived to become seniors.
I think that number says a lot.
It says that 5.8% of young men were ready to die for something they love. 5.8% have completed the quest.
To me this sounds very in-line with what a rite of passage process should mathematically equate to. Not everyone is ready. The true adventure and hero that wins or merely survives it won't be the majority, far from it.
I thank God for my days of college football. How would I handle the many situations I've had to endure and figure out as an adult? Video games haven't taught me that? I haven't learned it from watching youtube videos. I wasn't taught that in high school, my parents didn't teach me that. They may have talked about it and mentioned it even but they can't teach you that because you must live that. This lesson isn't a segment of parental lessons covered by a modern parenting psychologists, it's a time of trial where no one can tell you the answer, your confidence is solely created by you and the obstacle can't be modified to fit your comfort.
Now days I coach football. It's bittersweet to see the adventure and trials the young men I'm proud of today endure without my ability to truly join them. My role now is to mentor these young men and allow them to find the answers they need to; the most important question they will ask of themselves as men?
Do I have the heart to overcome?
Robbie is the creator of WF and loves to spend time in the outdoors chasing steelhead, upland birds, and the beauty of nature.