Nuk Hopkins: From Tragedy to Tremendous

As many of you know, I am a big Clemson football fan. Okay, huge Clemson football fan. Okay … is there something bigger than those two? Because that is what I am.

You’ll also know that I’m a sucker for an inspirational story. I was in awe when I read a story on Dabo Swinney’s journey from a poverty-stricken home life to one of the youngest head football coaches in the nation. I was moved to tears when ESPN did a feature on Clemson’s resident war hero, Daniel Rodriguez (you can see my post about the story here).


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Once again, I found myself touched by a story about a Clemson football player overcoming some incredible odds to be, as many analysts predict, nine short days from being a First Round NFL Draft pick. I’m referring to one of the stars of the 2012 season – DeAndre “Nuk” Hopkins. I had no idea that he had experienced such great tragedy in his life. It would be easy to just give up and assume that life will deal you the same cards as those around you, but instead, relying on sheer determination and a will to succeed, as well as a great sense of faith (you’ll note that, surrounded by his teammates and coaches, Nuk was baptized after a practice last fall). You can read the entire inspiring, incredible, touching, and yes, horrifying, story here.

My point? Not that Clemson football is incredible (well, it is, but that is not what I’m getting at here). But that if you want something bad enough, you have the power to make it happen. All of these men have overcome incredible odds stacked against them, not only surviving – but thriving.

Never let a bad day or a disappointment get you down. You are in control of your destiny – and your attitude, coupled with your will to succeed, can bring you victory in whatever it is you seek.