Unlike the way we utilize "YOLO" to rationalize bad behavior and spontaneous selfish choices, Drake discusses its actual meaning in a track called "The Motto." It means to take chances, live with purpose, and chase opportunities. Sometimes, an opportunity comes around that we can't refuse, and we choose to dive on in.
Opportunities rarely present themselves at opportune times, and nothing is guaranteed. It's a chance at our dream at the cost of something more secure and typical. So, take the chance and reach for the stars – YOLO! But remember that life continues regardless of that opportunity's path, and you may have to realign your life if things don't work out.
For many, a chance at something huge can present itself during college years – especially for athletes. When the pros come knockin', it's time to get…rockin'? The point is: many collegiate athletes have dedicated their entire lives (stress, grueling training, time constraints, dedication, practice, etc.) to a sport in hopes of being in the 1% that are chosen to play professionally. Even those that are selected must go through further scrutiny and trials that will test physical and mental limits. Unfortunately, accidents can happen and a bodily injury beyond control can end the chase. What then? Athletes like Casey McElroy chose not to identify by what could have been and pursue what will be by returning to college.
From College to Pro to College
The opportunity to go pro wasn't a lucky break for Casey – it was earned over years of practicing and honing his skills. An outstanding high school career made him eligible and desired player who caught the eye of Auburn agents. They presented an offer he couldn't refuse, and Casey began his collegiate adventure studying and excelling within their athletic program. His performance drew another eye and, in 2011, he was drafted by the San Diego Padres. The big one.
He didn't finish his degree, but that was a small price to pay for a chance at his lifelong dream. It seemed his upward trajectory wouldn't stop, and there was no reason it should have. Casey's work ethic, determination, and self-reflection were the combination that fueled careers through the atmosphere and into the stars. It was three injuries - a dislocated kneecap, torn meniscus, and medial collateral ligament – earned in one play that changed his trajectory. Closure is easier to find when we purposefully walk away from something. It's exponentially harder when something is taken from us, and we are left wondering what could have been.
Casey continued to play, but it would seem the damage was done. And so, in 2018, he turned his attention to the next adventure – finishing his college career. The higher a rocket flies, the larger the fall. However, he didn't fall. He changed his trajectory to pursue his next great opportunity. He's not falling, or even "falling with style" (personal favorite quote). He's continuing to fly.
Finish and/or Continue Your Education
His story is a humbling reminder to stay the course. Even if there is a sudden unexpected change, we need to keep our eyes on the next steps and power through. While many of us didn't finish college due to playing professional baseball, we still had reasons for leaving that path incomplete. Don't squander the work and knowledge! Whether you go back to your Alma Mater or find an online program, stay the course and earn a degree. More opportunities are possible with a degree. Adventures don't end; they give way to another. Don't forfeit further adventures because one doesn't end the way you wanted.