In the mid 90’s as roommates in Atlanta, Torry Epps an NFL defensive lineman for the Atlanta Falcons, was always the one to acknowledge the excitement I would display when presented with the opportunity to interview with Atlanta area staffing firms as well as the subsequent disappointment I would carry when I was notified that “another candidate that more closely matched the position” was selected. I was in Atlanta the birthplace of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King and I was seeking an opportunity to get my career in staffing underway…it was the opportunity to “have a dream”. My childhood friend was entrenched in the pursuit of his dream and that discipline guided me out on my journey as well.
After countless rejections it was time to leave the “dream party” in Atlanta and return to the city of my college years, Pittsburgh, PA. I continued to possess Staffing Firm aspirations but with the news of the anticipated arrival of my first born Ayanna in front of me. It was time to take a job…any job and put the Staffing Dreams on hold. After a year had passed working as a Family Counselor at a youth detention facility I received a call from my friend Torry, he wanted me to return to Atlanta to see the Falcons play the Rams on a nationally televised Thursday night game. Just hours before the game, Torry was informed by the Falcons that he had been released. Some would say a terrible time for my visit but as a friend I thought that the timing was ideal to support my friend in his time of dream uncertainty. With the news of his release still fresh we went out on the town for dinner & drinks. Torry told me his thoughts on the teams’ direction and how that led to his being released. I also recall a quote that he credited to his coach Jerry Glanville who would refer to the NFL as standing for “Not for Long”. Although his time in the ATL had came to an end, Torry’s faith in his dream which he attributed to his loving mother Mrs. Joyce Epps & talent told him that his career in the National Football League was not over. We spent the entire evening reliving experiences from our days as children in Uniontown, PA. All the while providing one another with examples of times that the chips were down and we never folded. We were joined that night by Mitch Lafleur. He approached with a very solemn look, believing that Torry would be crushed by the news of the day. To Mitch’s surprise Torry was flush with the excitement that a great evening with a best friend brings on. Mitch joined us in our conversation and spoke of his dreams of having a limousine service exclusively for professional athletes. We “celebrated” that as well.
During our drive back to Torry’s Atlanta home, he began retrieving his voicemail messages and there was a message from Bobby Beathard, General Manager of the San Diego Chargers. Mr. Beathard called to welcome Torry to the Charger organization. They had just acquired him off waivers…the dream indeed continued.
This story is intended for everyone that has the strength to embrace a dream job or dream career. Don’t let your current circumstances dictate your actions. Continue to stay positive and “Dream IT Alive”!
This story is dedicated to the memory of Torry Epps and Mitch Lafleur. They both lived lives that were all too short but they both left this earth as achievers of their dream. Please help me celebrate the life of Torry Epps on his birthday May 28th by continuing to pursue your dream. Rest in Peace E.U.
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