Special thanks to Ty Mercer for providing this post.
September 17, 2011 is a day I will never forget. Auburn was traveling to Clemson with the goal to continue their winning streak from the 2010 National Championship season. My mom is a huge Auburn fan. I have always watched and rooted for Auburn because of her but I never actually cared that much. However, I always found particular players I loved to watch. I have constantly been a fan of the tight end, fullback, defensive end and linebacker positions. At that time in Auburn football, my favorite player was Philip Lutzenkirchen.
I was going through a very odd time in my life where I was unsure of my identity and I was not comfortable in my own skin. I was headed down the wrong path. My mom knew that I had not been myself for the past few years and she was starting to worry where I was mentally. She wanted to go to the Auburn versus Clemson game, so I agreed to go with her. Inevitably, Auburn lost the game and, consequently, their winning streak. Also, Lutzenkirchen was injured during the game.
After the game ended, we walked around trying to find some friends of my mom's. When we saw the Auburn busses, we gave up looking. I asked my mom if she wanted to go watch the players get onto the bus, but she said it was okay because she knew I might not want to. I told her not to worry because this was her day and not mine. She was pretty shocked at my answer, as it was completely out of character for how I had been acting the past few years.
As we stood there and watched, we noticed this family in front of us wearing the number 43 jersey. When I finally saw Lutzenkirchen, I was so excited. It’s not every day that one of your favorite players is standing right in front of you. I asked for a picture and, even though he was exhausted and hurting, he said yes. I told him quickly that I was a huge fan. He responded with a 'thank you.' Our conversation was short, but he encouraged me to keep working hard.
When my mom showed me the picture of the two of us together, she said she could see the old me coming back. I was finally happy again. I went to my high school the Monday after I met Philip and joined the football team.
All of this led to me turning my life around for the better and getting back on the right track. It may seem like a small thing, but meeting Philip helped me when all I needed was a little push in my life. Philip will always be one of my top five favorite football players of all-time and I will never stop cheering on Auburn. WAR EAGLE!