Road Games

If I’m writing this post at all, I’m writing it in the bus on the way to yet another road game, and you’re not reading it. My environment smells like whatever chemicals they use to clean these seats and, probably, vaguely of sweat and aerosol trainers adhesive. I’m tired, hungry, and not looking forward to having to avoid watching whatever movie the team decides to watch on the way to whatever school we’re headed to next.

But I’m probably not even writing this post at all, honestly. I probably Myers-Briggs as an INTJ, have learned to funnel my introspective tendencies into the world of the actual instead of the theoretical, and am less concerned with where I could be today as opposed to where I will be tomorrow, next month, next year, and twenty years from now. Instead of feeling like seeing the path ahead of me is limiting, I think seeing the path ahead of me is freeing, because it allows me to act strategically.

Do you ever play this game? Do you ever imagine where and who you would be if you had made different choices earlier in life?

The above is my brief, best guess as to where and who I’d be on a night in February had I gone directly to Texas A&M instead of first going to UT Dallas. At UTD, I worked for their men’s basketball team and figured out that I didn’t want to work for a collegiate sports program for the rest of my life. Transferring to A&M provided me with a convenient “reset” for my college experience, and I opted not to work similarly for A&M’s team. Had I gone straight to A&M, at the dawn of the very successful Billy Gillespie era, I would have stuck with it, I think, and I’d probably be well on my way to a life-long career in intercollegiate athletics.

I went to UT Dallas first, because my parents gave me a t.u. jacket when I was 6 or 7 years old, and this made me a t.u. fan through high school. When recruiting material from A&M made its way to my mailbox during my junior and senior years of high school, I immediately threw it in the trash. Longhorn fan that I was, I had no desire to go to A&M. By the time I saw the error of my ways during my senior year of high school, it was too late to apply to Texas’ second most popular university, and I had to choose some place different for my freshman year. (Ironically, I ended up at a UT system school because I had always been a t.u. fan, even though I wasn’t one when I decided to go to that school.) Had I not been foolishly prejudiced against A&M, I might have gone straight there, and my life would be dramatically different.

Too much of this kind of thinking will drive you mad though. The more you consider the tiny things that led to your big decisions, the more you realize that who you are and what you do is the combined effect of millions of decisions you never realized were important when you made them. If you then try to think of every little decision in life as important because it could potentially lead you to a coffee shop in Pasadena, CA, text messaging back and forth with a great girl about whether or not you can name your bear-dog “Grinnell,” you might just go nuts.

Life is crazy and awesome and complicated, and if I didn’t have a God to trust to make all these millions of little choices work out in a good way, I don’t know if I’d be able to handle it. But I do have a God like that, and the weird intersection between my choices and God’s providence is a good place to live. I’d never have guessed I’d end up where I am right now, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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