In this debut book, contributors offer a series of letters to their younger selves.
Murray’s slim work uses a rhetorical gambit that should be familiar to all readers: what they would write if they could send letters back in time to their younger selves. The author is an avid football fan and former player for the University of Texas at El Paso. He returned to the university to further his studies, and he was on friendly terms with fellow competitors, some of whom went on to play professional ball. Murray himself founded Student Athlete Transition Symposium, a motivational and performance-based program designed to help high school and college athletes figure out what they want to do in order to achieve their life goals. Murray and the friends he’s enlisted to contribute letters to the book look back at their earlier selves and craft letters designed to impart the good and bad of what they’ve learned in the intervening years. One of the evocative work’s most intriguing threads is the similar notes sounded in each letter. Murray, for instance, writes to his younger self: “It is at your most selfish times that you will make your worst decisions.” And his friend and fellow ball player Larry Linne, among others, has a similar sentiment: “The majority of who and what you will become will not be caused by positive experiences in your life. The majority of your character, success, joy, happiness, wealth, and positive relationships will have been founded from your going through difficulty, pain, struggles, loss, and adversity.” Murray summarizes each letter (somewhat unnecessarily, considering the missives’ brevity) in end-of-chapter bullet points. But these and other common ideas are immediately obvious in any case, and they’re views any young athlete should value hearing: believe in your dreams, learn from your mistakes, and rise above your setbacks.
Hard-won and often moving life lessons delivered to young athletes.