COLUMN: Through all life's ups and downs, this is why I never gave up


In September 2016, I arrived at the fourth floor of Moore Hall for a Central Michigan Life open house as a nervous freshman. The sports desk was looking to add three new people. Fortunately, I was one of only three people interested in writing sports.

It’s now December 2021. My time as a college student is finally over. 

I made it. 

This wasn’t easy. 

I nearly dropped out in October 2019. My mental health and confidence as a writer were shattered, held together by my amazing group of friends. One day I had a severe breakdown. I felt like it was time to leave school and find a new career path. 

I went through what I thought the conversation would look like in my mind. My friends, parents and brother would support me to an extent.

Then I thought about talking to my Grandpa Vosburg. At the time, he was battling an aggressive form of non-hodgkins lymphoma that resulted in doctors removing his spleen and portions of his liver, pancreas and diaphragm.

Three weeks after his surgery he started chemotherapy. He dropped to 110 pounds and became so weak that he couldn’t move his right foot down with enough force to press down on a gas pedal. 

I thought about looking him in the eye and telling him "I’m giving up because this is too hard." Tears instantly flowed down my face. I couldn’t give up, no matter how hard it was going to be. 

I was going to write again to make him proud. 

Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit. 

My life revolves around sports. With the NBA, NHL and MLB on hiatus, I finally realized that nothing in life is guaranteed. I was lost. I thought there was no way I’d be able to write sports again because of it. 

Then one of my childhood idols, the Rated R Superstar Edge, did something that a lit a fire underneath me.

I am a massive professional wrestling fan. Seeing Edge forced to retire because of a long-standing neck issue in 2011 broke my heart. After nine years and a successful operation, Edge made his shocking return in the 2020 Royal Rumble. The emotion on his face as Minute Maid Park erupted in celebration is permanently burned into my brain. 

After re-watching his match months later, I had a moment or realization: If Edge can take back his life’s passion, why can’t I?

I would get that opportunity one night in October. 

After being dragged from bar to bar with a group of friends, I ran into then CM Life sports editor Austin Chastain. After a 10-minute conversation, I took the first step to rebuilding my shattered confidence. For the first time in two years, I once again called Central Michigan Life home. 

Within my first month back I had the cover story of a print edition and took photos for CMU’s game against Northern Illinois all within a 12-hour stretch. As the feedback poured in on the drive home from DeKalb, I screamed two words: “I’M BACK.”

Since then, I’ve worked to become Sports Editor. It's now my job and privilege to help usher in the next generation of sports reporters. Not only have I reclaimed my confidence, but my friends get to see me pursue my passion. Austin has not only become one of my roommates (in an apartment that never has a dull moment), but one of my best friends. 

Most of all, I didn’t give up. 

This process wasn’t just me. There are so many people to thank. 

First, thank you to everyone who bullied me for my speech impediment, body size, or big personality. All I ever needed was a friend. Instead, you put a chip on my shoulder. 

Thank you to everyone that never lost faith in me; my family, friends, colleagues, second family in Pontiac and mentor Kevin Langs. I am so glad that this past year is something that we can all be proud of. I love each and every one of you. 

To my good friends Dony Sowles, who passed away from complications of ulcerative colitis in June, and Zack Boyer, who took glioblastoma brain cancer down with him in September – I hope I made you both proud. Thank you for always believing in me when I didn’t believe in myself. I miss both of you so much. 

Finally, thank you to the incredible people at Central Michigan Life. You gave me a place that made me feel like I was doing something right, because I’ve never felt so alive. And for that, I am eternally grateful. 

This isn’t goodbye, it’s just see you later. CM Life for life.