O: Becoming Less

I have a confession…

I have judging ballets.

Hundreds of them.

Very few things have I kept through several years of my life, but the ballets of my speech/debate days in high school have remained unstained and in a secure file. That’s a fact, Jack.

In my senior year of high school I went on an insane winning streak. I mean it wasn’t just winning tournaments, it was clean sweeping meets [scoring straight 1’s through every round]. However, there was one specific meet that I was gearing up for:

The Orange Bowl.

This tournament hadn’t only eluded me over the years for first, I had never made it to finals. The only tournament that I had never ‘broke’ to finals. It was my jinx; this place was evil.

Until the senior year; I didn’t take ‘straight 1’s’, but I went home with first place. However, it wasn’t the trophy that really set the tone [it was nice though], it was the judging ballets. I had a judge that had remembered me from my freshmen-junior years and complimented on my progress through the years. With all the words that were kind; in 2005 this phrase stuck out on the yellow sheet:

There is talent and passion in this guy. He has a future!

Even in some of the darkest areas of my life in recent years; that phrase is insanely something I held onto more then anything. It meant the world to me that a complete stranger saw something unique in me; potential, passion, a future.


Along the same time period, in my ‘good church boy’ years I stood on the platform of the stage of the newly constructed church. We were given markers to write our favorite versus on the structure prior to finishing of the church.

One step below the pulpit, in a black market I wrote it out:

He must greater, I must become less.
-John 3:30-

Many times in my life I completely missed that point, but internally, in my soul I still held onto a truth that no matter the stage, audience, or the event…I couldn’t do it on my own. Honestly, that’s what I contribute to the success of high school; I was humble…on stage [the rest of my life that would be a better debate for].


In eight hours I’m going to be doing something for the first time; I’m going to be presenting in front of an audience…and it isn’t for competition or ‘practice for the real world’. It is the real world. Life has been such a blur lately that it’s hard to get a bearing on everything. Realizing that I’m speaking at a organization for start-up businesses, and the Kansas City Shock is one of those businesses in Kansas City. Sorry, but that’s just mind blowing. It was an idea, a tweet, a meeting, a burrito, a tournament, a ticket, a plane ride, and a prayer…and tomorrow…reality is going to kick-in full force.

To the late, great Dr. Derryberry; who I turned away from in college because I ‘knew more’; I hope he’s proud tomorrow.

To the random scribbler who judged me at the Orange Bowl; I hope I can prove you right.

To the family, friends, and random people who watch with curiosity; I hope you’ll get some major entertainment.

To my God, I hope I can continue to become less…


P.S. If you’d like to see the presentation live stream it is at 9:00 AM CST here.

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