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Daniel Hutchinson: This Means Goodbye

I guess this is my goodbye letter to the game that has done so much for me. The game was a tangible personal relationship that was entangled in my heart. It's more than a game if it's possible, it's more than a passion.

You were my life, when I stepped onto the field my worries of the world vanished. I felt like a new person, and it was whoever I wanted to be. It was the boy that escaped his hostile home his father created, the teenager who couldn't understand his emotions and felt alienated, to the man who has learned to live in peace and lead with love. The game of football is more than just the sport I played, it was the constructive parenting I needed in my life. Unfortunately, the game ended for me before I became aware. The game ripped itself away from me more than once. But if it wasn't for these experiences, I don't think I would have become the faith lead man that I am.

I started playing football when I was 11 years old. It was the first year my family could afford for me to play. Putting a helmet on for the first time gave me the feeling that I should wear one the rest of my life. I knew that football was something I was supposed to do.

Going into high school I got the opportunity to play in south Florida with some of the best athletes in Palm Beach. Troubles began shortly after my first two years at Oxbridge Academy. As a junior in high school I tore my hamstring ending my season early. But, with senior year around the corner I was locked in more than ever. Senior year turned out to be the hardest year of my life.

In June 2018, my high school Oxbridge Academy decided to shut down our powerhouse south Florida football team. Forcing the rising seniors (myself) to transfer to play ball senior year. I was forced to leave my brothers on that team. That bond vanished and it was out of my control to save.

This was only the beginning.

I transferred to Forest Hill and days later tore my ACL, MCL, and meniscus. I was depressed, developed blood clots, and felt so alone. But because the game chose me to go through this experience, it brought me to my faith. Being admitted to the emergency room to get rid of my blood clots was petrifying, and I had to spend a few days there mostly by myself when my mother or friends couldn't come. Being alone each night in the hospital gave me the ability to talk to God. I prayed for joy over my life. I prayed for growth. I prayed that through him I have the ability to touch the lives of many. Through him I was successful in my recovery and was able to find a home in Ithaca, New York to continue playing the game I love. During this time something changed in me, and while reflecting as a grown man right now I see that; post ACL recovery the game ended for me at that moment, I just wasn't aware.

I continued to chase my dream and outwork anyone in my way. I became the best athlete I could be, but it wasn't enough. This completely shattered my heart. My life was the game and I was always reaching a dream or a goal I was never able to attain.

It truly hurt my heart, but this go around in 2022, I made the decision to not run and hide and become depressed about it. So, during my senior season at Ithaca, I began to understand that what I prayed for in that hospital room in 2018 was coming to fruition. I saw the most action in this past year than I saw in my whole career. It wasn't the amount I dreamed of, but it was something, I was contributing to the offense. As the season went on the playing time dwindled but it didn't affect me the way it used to. I had a relationship with God and he helped me fight off the depression my failures in football brought me. I began to understand my purpose within that team.

That purpose was to bring joy to each player or coach I encountered. I knew so long I was in the huddle, the spirit of the Lord would be too. As a senior, I realized my favorite part of game day was praying over my teammates in the end zone before the game. It began with 1 and ended with 20+ in yankee stadium. I used to search for who I was through the game. But the Lord had a different plan, his plan was to use the game for me to see him and my true purpose, to bring joy and speak life.

So, to the game of football thank you so much for the hardships, happiness, freedom, depression, faith, hate, and love because of you I feel so confident in the man I am. I feel so prepared for what life has to bring me and that's because you tested me each and everyday. I wanted to be angry that I never accomplished my dream, but l couldn't. I feel so at peace now, so thank you. It's time for us to part ways. I'll never forget how you made me feel, 17 is gonna live forever.

One love.

Daniel Hutchinson



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