Torrey Smith's Off-Season Blog Full Of Random Thoughts

Wide Receiver for the Baltimore Ravens…Bored Blog Rookie

Month: February, 2014

Life After Football

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What’s going on y’all?  This past week has been a pretty busy one for me. Between working out, and getting things organized for my charity basketball game, (go to torreysmith.org for info) I neglected my blog but HERE I AM. Today I was up since 5:00 this morning visiting different stations to promote my game. I even got the chance to be a traffic reporter, which quickly reminded me that I need to stick to my day job. Yesterday I had the opportunity to be a part of something that I am proud of and truly thankful for.  Through my foundation (The Torrey Smith Foundation), along with the help from Scholastic and Home Depot, we were able to create a reading oasis covered in purple and gold, filled with 1,200 books for the students at Dickey Hill Elementary School. While I was there, I was able to hang out with the students, read them a book, and answer a few questions. It was a very rewarding experience.  One bright young man asked me “What would you be doing if you didn’t play football?”. This is a question that I am often asked, and to be honest I think about all of the time, which is what inspired me to write this post.

I graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in Criminal Justice.  When I choose my major I thought that I was going to be the next Horatio Caine…that is until my professor told me that 90% of CSI is fake! So I had to settle in on the fact that my future wouldn’t be that extreme but I could still find a great career within my major.  From that point on I saw my major as a way to get into the government to work, whether it be through the FBI or maybe even law school (If you follow me on twitter you would know that I love a good debate).  Then there’s communications, which would have been minor had I not left college early. Since I’ve been in the NFL I have grown to love the communications aspect of being an athlete. I am a very social person, and love interacting with people so it seems like a natural fit right?  As you can see my mind is everywhere and the possibilities are endless.

Thankfully I don’t have to make that decision today but I continue to try to find out what I would enjoy doing when I do decide to “hang my cleats up” for good.  It is something that a lot of athletes avoid thinking about until it is too late.  I try to “keep it real” understanding that it could happen at any moment, my next play, workout, or even next car trip.  It’s harsh but life always throws curveballs and you need to prepare yourself for every situation.  During the offseason I really try to take full advantage of my free time by networking and exploring different career fields.  Last off-season, I interned with Rep. Elijah Cummings. It was a great experience for me learning the ins and outs of what he does and more specifically what his team does to help the people of Baltimore.  His staff was amazing and I learned a lot from them.

This season I will be participating in the NFL: Consumer Product Boot Camp, which is one of the many transitional programs that the NFL offers. .  The consumer product industry is interesting to me because it focuses on the business side of things, from establishing a business to marketing strategies.  The NFL has some powerful people running this camp that will teach us everything that we need to know in order to run a successful business.  Do I want to be a business owner? I have no clue, but I do know that I can learn and grow from this camp experience.  It is another way for me to figure out what I’m interested in and expand my knowledge.

I did a lot of writing and never truly said what I wanted to do with my life when I’m done with football.  I feel like I’m a senior in high school all over again who doesn’t know what to major in.  There is only one way to find out and it’s simple.  Go figure out what you like! You have time but not forever. That’s my approach to figuring this thing out.  Who knows what I will be doing next offseason. I can tell you it will not be traffic reporting, I’ll leave that to Candace.

 

First Post: Michael Sam

Hello Ravens Nation! I’m excited to move my thoughts from twitter (@torreysmithwr) WordPress.  As some of you may know, I am very vocal and enjoy talking about current events, and any random thoughts that cross my mind.  Having the ability to interact with others via social media has been amazing, and blogging will take it to another level.  There is no better time than now! My offseason consists of working out in the morning, coming home to my beautiful pregnant wife Chanel, sharing laughs with her nephew Kyleem, and talking to you guys on twitter and Instagram.  Not too glamorous for a professional athlete, but it is THE LIFE to me.  Lets jump straight into it. My first post will talk about something that is considered controversial to some…..Michael Sam announcing that he is gay.

I would personally like to applaud Michael Sam for being the first in this profession to be open and honest about his sexuality. This shows his courage and strength.  I will not call him a hero because that title belongs to the soldiers who defend our freedom, our right to practice our religion, and even our right to choose our sexual orientation.  I will call him a man. A man who has proudly stepped to the forefront of an ongoing and controversial topic, to say who he is and what he stands for. So many children and adults struggle with the battle that

Michael just won.  He doesn’t have to live a secret life and can live “freely”.  Can you imagine living your entire life knowing that you can never truly be yourself, simply because it’s different than how society feels you are “supposed” to be?  Chasing your dreams, knowing the consequences of being yourself could be detrimental to your career? If you can do your job well, why does it matter what you do in your personal life? No man or woman should ever have to deal with that stress, especially in this country.

I was recently asked if I would mind playing with an openly gay man. My response? Absolutely not! If he is a great football player and can help us win our next Super  Bowl, I could care less about who or what he likes as long as he performs on the field.  Some may argue that it could effect the chemistry in the locker room but that shouldn’t be an issue. Most men are comfortable with their sexuality.  The University of Missouri football team is proof of that. If a group of athletes 18-22 years old can handle having an openly gay teammate, why can’t a group of professional athletes?  Things may have been a little different 15-20 years ago, but society is different now. As long as there is a reciprocation of respect, the locker room environment shouldn’t be an issue.

There will continue to be an ongoing debate concerning this topic, but let’s face the facts. Many of us (players), and people in general, have openly gay family members and friends (I happen to be one of them). If we could bet (I’m just using the phrase Mr. Goodell), I would say there are plenty of other guys, playing in the NFL right now, who are living secret lives, too afraid to be open about their sexuality.  Michael Sam may have given those guys hope that they can be themselves and that we (society/NFL) will accept it.  Michael Sam may have been the first to do it, but he will not be the last. Don’t judge him based on his sexual preference; judge him based on his talent on the field.  At the end of the day, if he could help the 2014 Baltimore Ravens win the Super Bowl, I would welcome him any day of the week. I am just one voice of many athletes around the NFL who feel the same way.  Best of luck to Michael Sam.