After playing nine seasons in the CFL, eight with the BC Lions and one year with the Saskatchewan Roughriders, the biggest question I had was, “What’s next?” When my football career ends, what will I do? Who will I be?
An important lesson I’ve learned to embrace is that football is just my occupation; its not who I am. I think this can help retiring athletes from feeling as though they are losing a part of themselves.
As a free agent, with some uncertainty and self doubt creeping in, I had to refocus and remind myself to control the things that I can control and not stress about the rest. I’m very big on energy and effort so I continued to work my ass off while playing the waiting game to see if a team would call or bring me in for a workout.
I’ve always been a hustler. So, I took what I learned throughout my career and started training youth athletes in speed and agility and got a job at D1 Sports Training in Allen, TX as a Strength & Conditioning Coach. It was a good opportunity to pass time, but COVID-19 had hit and that’s when things got real.
Playing a final football season in 2020 to wrap up my CFL playing career became just a thought. That wasn’t a reason to have pity party; it actually motivated me to get things done. I was able to start my own business, Manny Show LLC., which is centered around WR training & development. My wife got her Real Estate License and I started the online curriculum for Texas Teachers, so that one day I can teach in the classroom and begin coaching at some point.
Long story short, life is all about adapting and adjusting. Adversity will hit and when it does what are you going to do about it? Having the mental toughness to outlast your circumstances is key. I encourage everyone to use this time to figure themselves out, spend more time with your family, and any ideas or goals you’ve had in the past, put forth the effort to accomplish them now.
Find a way, not an excuse.