Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Glory Days

So lately I have been reconnecting with A LOT of people I knew in high school. Sadly, I don't remember all of them, but find it oddly humbling how many remember me.

I spent my high school years, and every year leading up to high school living in the same neighborhood, the same house, and around all the same people. Back then my entire life was football. I played from the age of 5 until my senior year. I was a standout wherever I played and all I could think of was what NFL team I would be playing for 1 day....funny how looking back, your dreams then are just memories now. In high school I played both ways for 4 years. Offense and Defense. I lettered 4 years. I was never the best student, typically....girls would do my schoolwork. I hated school. I hated the thought of being in school. During football season I really applied myself but when the season ended and there were still several months left, I lost interest and did just enough to remain eligible to play next year.

I mention this because I get a lot of questions from people who knew Randy Hunt "back in the day" and many of them are surprised that after high school, I disappeared. I barely even remained in contact with anyone. I had offers to play college football, I went through the whole recruitment thing my senior year and everyone assumed I'd be playing somewhere. Thing is....back then, I didn't have a great relationship with my Mom, which later haunted me after her death. So when I turned 18 and got that diploma that was so highly regarded in my house all I could think about was getting the hell out of Las Vegas. I couldn't bear the thought of 4 more years of school and the pressures of football, the cliche of every high school football movie of the week was my life for far too long, I felt I needed to change it and stop living the Friday Night Lights life. So I told my parents I wasn't going to college and my Mom and I had a HUGE fight. I left the house that day and ended up at a strip of military recruiters offices. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines....all in a row. I went into each one to discuss entering the military. Army was a 3 month wait. Marines was a 6 month wait. then I walked into the Navy office and the recruiter told me about traveling the world, he sold me....Then he asked, can you take an ASVAB test tomorrow? Can you be in boot camp in 5 days? That was it, I signed my name. Every college opportunity....gone with the stroke of a pen. I didn't even tell anyone. I woke up on the day of my ASVAB and called my recruiter and told him I had no place to live, a lie because I couldn't imagine the argument with my parents. So he put me up for 5 days until I left for boot camp. I called my parents from the airport in San Diego on my way to boot camp and told them where I was, there was nothing they could do. 6 months later I came home after graduating boot camp and passing A school for my 10 day leave, before I left for Virginia, and my military assignment aboard the USS Dwight D Eisenhower. I spent those 10 days pretty much alone. My parents crushed over my decision. Then I left for Virginia. I spent the next several years in the US Navy.

Now today, many of the people who wondered "what happened to Randy" are shocked to learn where my life went after high school. Looking back....I can't say I regret a second of it. The happiest time of my entire life was spent in the Navy. By the age of 19 I had traveled the world, by the time I left the Navy I had seen more places than a single person can ever dream of seeing. I walked in places people see on TV and dream of. I've been to Rome and seen the Coliseum. I've been to Paris and seen the Eiffel Tower. I've walked in the Nile River. I've touched the phenom known as Stonehenge. I've toured the Pyramids in Egypt. I've taken a Gondola ride in Italy. I've tried to make the guards at the Royal Palace blink an eye. England, France, Italy, Spain, Israel, Turkey, Ireland, Greece, Morocco, Marseilles, Portugal, Bermuda....I've been to all of em, numerous times. So when I'm asked now, if I regret my decision to forget college football and join the Navy, I say "NO" with a smile on my face. Walking into that recruiters office that day and leaving as fast as I did was, hands down, the best decision I've ever made. Had I thought about it and weighed my options, talked to my parents, I would have went onto college and missed the greatest moments of my life....so NO...I'm not sorry...not even a little bit.

As far as Randy Hunt from back in the day...I don't wear a football jersey anymore, I'm not at the party of the week that often these days, and I don't get free fast food anymore....but I'm still me, just a bit more grown up. Nowadays, it's a job I've worked at for 13 years, a divorce, and 3 of the most amazing kids anyone could ever have.....I couldn't have scripted it better. High School is long gone but man did we have some times. Never underestimate the power of reflection, it feels good to know I left a mark and people remember my name. It is important to say....If I don't remember you today, it's my ignorance...and I apologize, I was kinda into myself back then....now I'm just sorta into myself. LOL Cheers!


Jen said...

wow. Very interesting stuff. You're right, the experiences you've had trump anything else you could have possibly done. Plus, you served our country (thank you for that!), which makes you way more of a hero than any football player. Good post!

Nik said...

It's always cool when people open up litle windows into their souls. I admire the fact that through all the negatives, you're able to see the good things that came out of it. That's why you're one of my fave people and you rock.

Renee said...

I love this post! It's turned me from a lurker into a commenter ;-)

I also thank you for serving our country. It sounds like you've had many experiences of a lifetime! And so cool that you don't regret any of it. In fact, it sounds like you're better for all of it! Thanks for the reflective glimpse :-)

LoraLoo said...

I'm glad to find out I'm not the only person to wonder WTF. :)

Isn't it amazing how one quick decision can change your entire life plan. I have to say, you turned out fabulously (and would have any way it worked out), and you should be SO proud of your accomplishments. You do seriously kick ASS. How many people can say they've seen the world? I know I haven't.

p.s., also glad you still remember my name, LMAO.