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How To Follow Your Dream (hint: don’t give up)


Jordan Freelander #23

After you hear the words, “Follow your dream,” or, “Follow your bliss,” what’s next?

Most hear that and decide to put dreams and bliss on the shelf for another day. They’ll get on it when they have more time, follow their bliss after they learn to identify it.

An old New York City joke has a tourist asking a native, “How do I get to Carnegie Hall?” The native New Yorker answers, “Practice.”

It’s the same question high school athletes ask themselves, with a few slight modifications. They ask, “How do I get to the next level?”

Things get more complicated for the two sport athlete. They ask, “Which one is my best sport?” The usual answer comes from the outside in the form of college scouts and recruiters. And scholarship offers.

How do you choose? Ask Jordan Freelander.

The football and basketball player from Central Catholic graduated with a full ride to play football at Northern Arizona. This Oregonian would be a Lumberjack. Perfect fit, but for one thing: he wanted to play college basketball.

Football and basketball? LeBron James recently said he’d like a shot in the NFL. Too many in the NFL would love a shot at him. That’s the way it is with athletes, they want more.

Most of the time a sports scholarship is the deciding factor for college. If the school wants you enough to hook you up on their roster, you go. Play football, get an education, move on. You can catch up with basketball later at the gym.

It seems that easy, but of course it never is. This is where conviction jumps in. You’re good enough to play football, but not good enough for college basketball? Anywhere? The evidence is usually good enough to make the call for football. Not this time.

What can you say about a young man who maps a future in sports by winding through junior college, then a four year school, and actually getting on the court? In their second best sport? It starts with three letters. Wow. In this case the letters are WOU.

And that’s what Freelander did. From Santa Rosa JC to Western Oregon University, he stayed with his game. He studied the game, and more important, his part in the process.

You can ask someone who hasn’t done much, who hasn’t overcome much, when they decided to change their life. They won’t say they quit on themselves at the first hurdle, but it sounds that way.

Here’s what Jordan sounds like:

One of my driving forces and reasons behind wanting to coach and train youth is because I know how hard it is to make it. When I was an infant I battled a lot of health problems which hindered me from walking, talking, or eating properly. As I was playing sports throughout middle school into high school I realized that if I could go through what I went through, then I can go through anything. One of my biggest dreams was to play basketball at an elite level.  Even though I was told I would never amount to anything or be able to play college basketball, I did. I put my mind to it and proved a lot of people wrong.

Does this sound like a man passing time the easiest way possible, or someone driven to succeed? Change is hard, but coming from someone who changed perceptions by the power of their own belief makes it possible. For them and others listening, the message is the same. You can do more than you think.

In the world of baby boomers with a list of accomplishments, the message is even more important. You’re not done because someone says you’re done.

As an athlete, the two hardest things to find are workouts that are affordable and also just good solid coaches/trainers. I love the game and I love helping others so I decided I wanted to give back. I wanted see if I could make it easier for others who have the same ambition level and dreams I did. I do not only want to develop the athlete, but the self-image and character of those athletes. There is a lot to basketball and what you can learn from the game. I want to not only develop the players on the court but off the court as well.

A key element in helping others is being helpful, of identifying need and actually understanding where it comes from. Whether obstacles are environmental or hereditary, learning to face the fear, then learning the habits of problem solving, are the correct steps. Do it often enough and you find yourself on a new trajectory.

Once you see a need for help, how do you find the right mentor? Is it the program with the most press? The super star with the most rings? Or is it someone who actually took the road less traveled to where they wanted to go. Those are the people who asked themselves every day, “What more can I do to accomplish my goals,” then do it. That’s the message you want to hear for yourself and athletes.

I feel one of the biggest reasons I excelled in being a student athlete is because of my character. I wasn’t just a good athlete, I also maintained a 3.2GPA in high school and 3.3GPA in college, four year captain in HS and in college, multiple student-athlete awards, and developed strong relationships wherever I went with my teammates and coaches. I wanted to be that role model for kids.

Does it sound like Jordan Freelander sees a bigger picture for himself? Yes, and that’s the picture you want to be in, too. Most sports have a team orientation. Even individual sports have a support team, if not a competition team. Caring about the results is one thing, taking care along the journey is another. Vince Lombardi has a famous quote on winning: “It’s not everything, it’s the only thing.”

What Coach Lombardi left out was the spirit he instilled in the Green Bay Packers to create winners. Great people build on a foundation of character; good people show how to lay the bricks of greatness. Jordan Freelander gets it.

TAC Basketball (Tomorrow’s All-Stars Clinics) is designed to uplift and encourage young athletes to strive for greatness. I created these clinics to develop boys into men, and to give them a fighting chance against the politics that surround the game; to show them that if I can do it from where I came from and what I went through, then they can as well. In TAC Basketball you will develop the strength, conditioning, and agility behind the game, you will grow and increase your personal basketball skills, and lastly you will develop your self-image, character, and integrity.

Winners play the game to stay in the game. They longer they play, the better they get. There’s no such thing as the ultimate defeat with the proper mindset. Instead, you learn to adjust and tackle problems from another angle.

Whether it’s your game, your relationships, or your life, there’s no room for quitting.

Just ask Jordan,





About David Gillaspie
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