I have a hard time going back after I leave places. I like my goodbyes to make definitive ends. I don’t know why that is, but I think it protects myself against renegade emotions or something like that.
A few weeks ago, I got invited to go speak at the Marshall boys basketball banquet. I was a little hesitant to go back to Marshall, where I had lived for a little over a year. It would be almost a three hour drive. I had just moved into a new place and I had stuff I needed to do and I was tired. I had moved on to a new job and new challenges.
But I couldn’t quite work myself up to say no to the opportunity, so I said yes. I knew I probably wouldn’t get a chance to speak my mind to a bunch of high school students ever again. It’s been a secret dream of mine to give a commencement speech, and I knew this was probably the closest I’d ever come to doing just that.
I accepted the invitation and decided to make the drive in one day. I got in at about 3 p.m. and had to go check in on a few people.
When I drove into town, I noticed that not much had changed other than the bridge of the highway. I’m glad that was finally put in. I stopped in to see my old roommates. Only one was around, but I stopped in for a few minutes. They were doing well. I stopped by the Marshall Independent office. It didn’t seem like much had changed there.
And then I stopped by and saw my adopted family of Marshall, Jim and Mary. I hadn’t caught up with them in a while. I used to go over there at least once a month for dinner and we’d catch up on the latest happening around town.
I got to the high school a few minutes before 6 p.m. The cafeteria was packed with parents, siblings, and players. I remembered some faces and names, but a few had slipped my mind. I was seated at the head table on the very end, right by the guys from the radio. I wanted to say hi to some people, but it felt weird getting up from my seat. After everyone got their food, I was the first go to up.
My speech took a few minutes. I enjoyed it, even though I was a little bit nervous. I don’t think many of the other coaches or radio guys enjoyed speaking in front of large groups of people.
I said hi to a few people afterwards. It was nice to see some of the kids I covered and some of the parents I had gotten to know. Some (jokingly) asked if I was coming back.
I’m still computing what my time in Marshall meant. I knew it would always kind of temporary stop. I’m in a job and a place where I hope to be for a long time.
Well every stop on life’s journey may not be amazing, you gain something from every stop. It’s nice to be reminded of that fact.