Emerging from the Dust


Harry Steinberg, Sports Editor

When you are an athlete, no matter the talent level or team, you will face adversity. Not just petty disagreements, but real and intense challenges which you will have to get past.

Take Tyrann Mathieu, AKA Honeybadger (a nickname given to him for his ball-hawking abilities), a defensive back for the Arizona Cardinals. He was born in New Orleans and lived with his grandparents. His mother was never around much and his father was incarcerated before Tyrann was born. When he was 13 years old, he was relocated to Texas due to Hurricane Katrina. Ten years later, after signing with Louisiana State University and thriving as one of the best players in the country, he was kicked out of the LSU football program for violating team rules. Two months later, he spent a night in jail for drug use. As he walked out of the jail cell, he had a new mindset, a new outlook: he would not stop working until he made it to the NFL.

Flash forward three years of unrelenting hard work. Mathieu was drafted 69th and finished fourth in the NFL rookie of the year voting. The following December of the same season, Mathieu tore his ACL. And here he is, back in his third year of the NFL, better than ever.

Tyrann Mathieu is a great example of an athlete who didn’t stop getting back off the ground. He is a great example of someone who – despite having a troubled background – has achieved great success in life. His story is not unique. Many professional athletes have faced very difficult situations to be where they are now. But let’s take the example off someone who is held on a pedestal. Let’s put it on, say, individuals who participate in athletics at Durango High School.

Although our adversity may not be as dramatic, we do face challenges. As athletes  we all share a common passion for sportswe can learn something from the great athletes who have overcome. They did not take their time, although some challenges self-inflicted.Not just take our time and slowly stand back up. You are held to a higher standard when you sign up for athletics at DHS. That means that when you face adversity you must  come out a better, bigger, more thoughtful and more mindful athlete.

We have a choice. It is so easy to say things, so easy to create hollow plans and forget about them. But Tyrann Mathieu wasn’t hollow. He worked harder than ever and earned his life back. Athletes who have made mistakes or simply had bad luck have to take it in stride. A bigger than normal stride, a stronger stride, a stride with direction and purpose.

Sports are our classroom and for some, much more is learned about the game of life through sports. Adversity has much to do with this, but more importantly, how the first steps taken out of a bad situation define who you are and what you can achieve. taken after a situation begins to define you.