It's a Walk-On WorldIn collegiate sports, there are walk-on players. What this means is that the player was not recruited and did not receive a scholarship to play. They have abilities and probably a lot of heart.

We love walk-on players; they deliver a great story. For the ones that make it, they embrace the plots of winning-against-all-odds. Walk-on players have attitude, in the sense of being can-do in spirit and approach. They are confident but not cocky. A sense of purpose is evident in their eyes and actions.

Recently, a new award was formed to recognize walk-on players in football. It is called the Burlsworth Trophy, and it is in honor of Brandon Burlsworth. Brandon was a very successful walk-on player at the University of Arkansas. In 1999, he was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts but, unfortunately, died in a car accident before being able to play in the NFL. The first Burlsworth Trophy was given this past year to Georgia Tech’s Sean Bedford.

When do walk-on players become important? Walk-on players become important if there are too many injuries, especially in specific positions. They also are important when scholarships cannot extend to all positions. NCAA only allows so many scholarships to be given. Many benefit from walk-on players as the gaps are filled within the team. There may be limited risk with walk-on players but with an opportunity for a great deal of upside.

With all this being said, in our real world life, we are all walk-on players. What we do with our life is based on what we do with our life. In other words, our success is based on the:

  • Discipline we apply to improve our abilities
  • Choices and decisions we make as we navigate our life
  • Actions we take to realize success in our goals
  • Attitude we have in how we approach our activities
  • Relationships we build to form our communities and how we work with others
  • Spirit within us which drives our enthusiasm and energy

Our achievements are not necessarily solo in nature, although many of us do not receive special treatment or life scholarships to give us a boost. We work with the hand we are dealt.

We then need to approach our life with the energy and initiative any walk-on player would take. We live in a walk-on world. It is not a bad thing; it’s just a fact we need to realize and work with.

Approaching our life as a walk-on is a great mindset to have. It is a storyline we need to embrace every day. We need to move forward in the new year with a walk-on attitude and spirit.

Join the conversation. As you look back at chapters in your life, do you have any walk-on moments? Do you feel like you are living a walk-on life today?

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