Lott IMPACT Trophy | Honoring College Football's Defensive Best



The Last Day – By Ruben

I am sad that this Hall of Fame experience has come to an end but am joyful from everything I have learned & all the new people I met that had a significant impact on my life. I will forever remember the kind people of Ohio & the great Hall of Fame legends who were extremely friendly & approachable. This trip has definitely impacted my life & has taught me many valuable life skills & has improved my leadership & communication skills.

To start off my day I had a workbook session with Dr. Casey where we discussed controlled & uncontrollable factors in any scenario to avoid anxiety & worry. Dr. Casey made Jerome & I brainstorm ideas to a scenario which was academics, we had a longer list of controllable factors over the uncontrollable ones. Dr. Casey made an excellent point that the reason people stress & worry over academics is because they focus too much on the uncontrollable factors that they don’t take advantage of the controllable factors so they are presenting themselves the idea of possible failure even before they begin. She made me realize that I did this to myself in multiple occasions & that I must have a positive mindset & if I ever feel doubt in myself she told me to make a list of controllable & uncontrollable factors in the scenario. Dr. Casey also wanted to make sure we were managing our time & that we were getting sufficient sleep. I told her my daily routine & she said that I needed to rethink my schedule & focus on the most important areas like dividing up equivalent time for each subject such as Math, Science, History , etc. She broke down my schedule hour by hour so that every part of my regular schedule was covered & she made me a better schedule where I have enough time to sleep & to cover my academics. Dr. Casey also gave me an important piece of advice (Don’t waste so much time in one area use the designated time & if you’re not finished move on to the next). Dr. Casey has been one of the most influential people in my life just by observing her actions I know I have to be assertive sometimes to get my point across. She helped improve my communication skills by telling me to project my voice & to have confidence when I speak to people. I am thankful to Dr. Casey for everything that she has done for me & taught me, she is definitely someone I will come back and visit.

I also had my first radio interview & man was that nerve racking. This trip has been a lot of first timers for me & I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to speak on the radio. At first I was nervous but Dr. Casey reassured us by preparing us five minutes before the interview & that calmed my worries down. Then when it was time for the interview I remembered everything Dr. Casey told me like to keep my shoulders straight & project my voice. I kind of got stumped at first but then I got the hang of it & I think my response came out smoothly.

We then went to the Hall of Fame for the Tailgate Party. Dr. Casey said we would eat for the whole night ahead so she said “stuff yourself”. That’s exactly what I did I got a scoop of beans, scoop of vegetables, two hot dogs, two hamburgers, & a bag of chips. Hall of Fame member Ron Yary was so impressed with how much food I devoured that he gave me a high five. I was satisfied with the amount of food I ate & learned a great lesson today, take every opportunity that’s given to you don’t be afraid to be judged just do you. We also met with the two veterans and Congressional Medal of Honor recipients that I had met a few days before. Ron Yary asked the two veterans to explain how they got their Medals of Honor & they both had such amazing stories. The first explained how he was a medic & he actually went out in the field of battle & carried, dragged, any way possible he could get them out, veterans who had been injured & took them back to hospitals. He saved about 76 lives & received the Medal of Honor for his bravery. The next story showed me the real value of sacrifice and brotherhood. He was in a tour in the Middle East & was doing some assignment of clearing compounds & he & two other Rangers were pinned against the side of the compound by enemies. He was guarding one side when he received a bullet to the thigh but he kept doing his job & kept looking over to make sure his guys were alright. Then suddenly he sees this orange sized home made bomb land in between him & his guys, he acted quickly & picked it up & threw but as soon as he let go of it, it blew up his arm completely off up to the elbow. However, he still kept cool & was keeping guard he knew his teammates were still in danger & he had to protect them at all costs. Later he received the Medal of Honor for his brave actions & now has a robotic arm. These two veterans showed me bravery, sacrifice, & outright determination. They definitely left their mark on me & I will never forget them.

After this we headed down to Tom Benson stadium where we got on the sidelines for the first preseason game, the Vikings vs the Steelers. It had been my first time being so up close with so many legends like Antonio Brown & La’von Bell & it had been my first professional game. I also met with coach of the Steelers Mike Munchack who introduced me to Antonio Brown & a retired linebacker, it was so amazing. I couldn’t believe we were in the sidelines when most people were in the stands, but that was short lived as some worker told us we needed to go back to our seats. To my surprise the seats weren’t at all that bad we had a clear view of the field & saw everything. I watched the game with complete focus trying to analyze the players and the way they carried themselves on the field. Some were worry free while I saw anxiety in others. I learned that these men were regular human beings just like me, they got anxiety like I did & they were afraid of making mistakes like me. I just enjoyed the game & was grateful for it because I know many kids would kill to be in my shoes to meet the people I met & go to the places I gave gone in the past four days. I am grateful to Dr. Casey who helped guide Jerome & I along the way & grateful that the Ohio residents were so friendly as well as the Hall of Famers. I’m especially grateful to our mentors Mike Haynes and Ron Yary who invited us into their Pro Football Hall of Fame family.


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