There comes a moment in each of our lives when we learn our most important legacy is in how we help others. That time has not come yet for former Indiana University quarterback Brandon Dawkins.
Dawkins left the Hoosiers football program over the weekend after learning late last week that he was third on the depth chart with a single grad eligible year left in his collegiate career.
It’s understandable the young man would bolt. Dawkins came to Indiana feeling it would be the perfect spot for him to get a chance to build an NFL resume’.
The reality was not as kind.
A dream’s end is the cruelest form of adversity, and no one can blame Dawkins for choosing to remove himself from the site where it occurred. It’s tough to continue to bleed, sweat, and sacrifice when only a sliver of a chance for the hoped for outcome remains.
We can’t control the number of snaps we get in life, but we can control how we respond to a lack of them. There is running – admitting the coach is right and pulling up stakes, going wheels up, and quitting. And there is staying, hoping, fighting, working, and serving.
Guess which option provides the best outcome – maybe not the hoped for result, but sometimes an even greater reward.
Dawkins won’t look back on his experience at Indiana with disgust for what he feels was a mistake by the coaching staff. He will regret that an opportunity to fight was abandoned and a chance to help others was passed.
Higher education comes in a lot of forms. The best lessons aren’t learned in the classroom, but in our behavior – the responsible and mature decisions we ignore in favor of what feels best in the moment.
Dawkins indulged in the fleeting joy of heading home and sticking it to Tom Allen and his team. He had the opportunity to respond to adversity with hard work, which is always the right answer. ALWAYS.
One day, he will realize that he left a great deal undone in Bloomington.
This was posted August 29th on Brandon Dawkins Instagram account:
To Whom This May Concern:
Football has been a life changer for me. It has introduced me to friends who have become family. It has given me a platform to be in people’s life, and I have always tried to use that to share a smile. I have always done everything in my power to help others, even if that may just be a simple joke that ignited a smile. Football has also helped me get to college and obtain my degree. Not to mention all of the life skills that it has tough me and memories it has given me that will last the rest of my life.
The most important thing to me though has been the joy that the game always brought me. Over the last couple years I lost touch with that joy. I respect and love the game, but I have lost touch with it. I am not too proud to admit that I needed help. I am grateful for the sports psychology team at both Arizona and Indiana for helping me at some of the lowest points in my life. The game has getting me depressed and hurting my well-being.
As my mental health is deteriorating I have decided to take a break from the game. I know now that I need to take care of ME. I need to make myself important. I have not properly taken care of myself. Do I know what’s next? Of course not, but I do know God has a plan that is way bigger than any plans I could ever imagine for myself. I hope you can respect my privacy during this time, and my decision. Thank you all.
We hope Brandon finds joy, purpose, and the plan he seeks. While the post was written without knowledge of Brandon’s struggle, the message remains the same. When joy in a personal mission is lost, it can be found in helping those around you achieve theirs.
Kent Sterling hosts the fastest growing sportstalk show in Indianapolis on CBS Sports 1430 every weekday from 3p-7p, and writes about Indiana sports at kentsterling.com.