Where do I begin...
The year was 1998. Michael Jordan was king, the Denver Broncos were an NFL powerhouse and somewhere in the west-end suburbs of Toronto, a skinny kid named Courtney was putting on shoulder pads and a helmet on for the first time in his life.
Looking back on it now, I had no idea what I was getting myself into.
Fast-forward 20 years later and here I am.
After six seasons as a professional football player, I often look back on my journey and marvel at the countless times when all my stars aligned and I just happened to be in the right place at the right time. Many people work hard, but I was extremely fortunate to have the guidance and support of some awesome mentors at key checkpoints along my way.
Thanks to some critical advice and an obsessive amount of hard work I can now say that I've actually lived out some of the wildest childhood dreams. I will never forget the overwhelming feelings of joy and gratitude that I felt when I finally earned that full scholarship in university. Likewise, I will not soon forget the time I got to entertain a sell-out crowd of 70-some thousand screaming fans in the 2013 BCS Orange Bowl.
It blows my mind thinking about it all - The fact that I really did it. The fact that I'm still doing it, living out my dreams every day.
At 18 years old I left for school and I have been traveling ever since. Over the next 10 years, football brought me from Brampton to Waterloo, to Chicago, to West Point, to Miami, to Montreal, to Vancouver, to Minneapolis, to Hamilton and a ton of other cities in between.
For a guy who still gets car sick I have become quite the traveller.
Over the years football has taught me a lot about life, about people and about myself. To say that it has been a perfect journey would be less than honest. I've definitely come across my fair share of trials, but that's to be expected in any endeavour.
So what is my point?
In my pursuit of an incredibly audacious goal, I learned life lessons that transcended sports and gave me a framework to build a productive and healthy life outside of the painted lines.
Now I want to share my journey with you.