May 26, 2019 | 78° F

Loyalty, brotherhood proves vital in face of public scrutiny

I Hate Writing

Growing up, my father taught me many life lessons. As a young man, a parent's lectures may tend to go in one ear and out the other, more often than not. But the interesting thing I found about lessons that our parents try to teach us is that they have a sort of boomerang effect. A boomerang effect in the sense that messages communicated at one particular moment in time may not resonate in our consciousness until much later on.

We may not necessarily understand a concept as well as we think we do when we hear it for the first time, but as we go on in life, the same concept presents itself in a way that hits home for us. In my life particularly, the concept of putting family first is a lesson that I thought I understood when it was first expressed to me. It wasn’t until just recently that this resonated me in a different way. The idea of putting family first isn’t as simple as supporting everything your family does. I mean, what if I don’t agree with what a family member does or stands for, why should I support them? After all, they are they’re own people and I’ve developed my own morals, so why should I sacrifice my name for the well-being of someone who seemingly has the same options as I do? The answer is simple. In order to accomplish things that will be remembered for a lifetime, we must sacrifice ourselves for a bigger cause. We must sacrifice comfort for achievement. Within any kind of family, the goal may be an emotionally, spiritually and financially prosperous life. Depending on the reasons we are affiliated with other people within a group, goals will differ.

Who am I? My name is Julian Pinnix-Odrick, and I am a senior here at the University. I am currently pursuing a major in communication and minor in human resources. I plan on graduating this spring (shout-out to the Class of 2016). I don’t know if video games count as a hobby, or if I play them enough to consider them as my hobbies, but that’s what I do in my spare time. Like most college students I enjoy chilling with friends and going out on weekends. I am also on the football team here at the University. This is something about me that many people find interesting for an array of reasons. In fact, once I meet someone for the first time and it comes up that I play football, it usually dominates the rest of the conversation and the next few conversations I have with that person. Because of my 6-foot-5, 270-pound frame, it is quite difficult to be seen as anything else but an athlete. Not that I am ashamed of being a football player, but I just feel as though not many people understand what being a football player means to us.

My football team is my family. Not my family in the sense of some misplaced need for acceptance and belonging, but through trial by fire. Being a good Division I football player is not easy and being a good Division I football team is even harder. On the journey to becoming better players and creating a better team, we put ourselves through situations that push our bodies and minds to their limits. We put our pride aside and our hearts on the line. We trust in our teammates to bring us up when we are down and push us further just when we thought we couldn’t go anymore. We reiterate that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, but the weakest link doesn’t have to stay that way. We do not give up on that link, we strive to make it stronger. I myself have been that weak link at times during my career here and so has everyone else on the team at one point or another. That is the beauty of what this game does. No one is exempt from failure or defeat, but everyone has the choice to get back up. This support system is what turns us into family. The sport of football is just the tip of the iceberg compared to the love that is built between my brothers and me. What we do is more than just your Saturday entertainment.

The sport and how we respond to it is simply a microcosm of life. How I respond to adversity within my sport is a reflection of how I will respond to adversity is life. How I defend my brother on the field is a reflection of how I will defend my brother off of the field. Needless to say our team has been under attack by everyone from news stations to our very own student body. I cannot speak for anything that may have caused this frenzy, but I can speak for how we will respond. We will not tuck our tails and hide from pressure. The bond that we have is not fabricated and cannot be broken by anybody but those within the family. It isn’t until now that I truly understand what it is to put family first and defend those that I have bled for. The boomerang has finally come back around and struck me in the head. I am not ashamed of my family and who we are. I gladly put that block “R” on my chest, because I know that we stand for way more than what is portrayed, and we don’t have anything to prove to anyone but ourselves.

Julian Pinnix-Odrick is a School of Arts and Sciences senior majoring in communication with a minor in human resources. His column, "I Hate Writing," runs on alternate Mondays. 

Julian Pinnix-Odrick

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