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The Highsman Story: College Days

Ricky Williams was not always the outspoken cannabis advocate that he is today. There was a long journey of navigating societal pressures and discovering himself before realizing his true purpose – to inspire and help others heal. In fact, he would rarely interact with cannabis until he faced one of the biggest challenges of his life during his senior year of college.

He chose to play at the University of Texas because their program embodied the sacred holiness of football that Ricky draws inspiration from. Since 11 years old, Ricky dreamed of experiencing the glory of playing college football.

“The experience is just to be a part of it… When you see something and you feel like that’s something special, and you just want to be a part of it.”

Everybody needs a particular thing that they genuinely care for and can apply their personal pursuit of greatness towards. Becoming the best running back in the history of college football is the dream that Ricky Williams chose.

Ricky had an amazing college career. At the end of an impressive junior year, he led the nation in rush yards and finished fifth in Heisman voting. Ricky was projected to be a top pick in the NFL draft, with the potential to earn millions of dollars at only 20 years old.

When Ricky was set to make his decision, only one goal was on his mind: becoming the greatest running back to ever play college football.

It was a bold choice to delay his professional career, but Ricky was resolved to see his passion through to the end regardless of the money he could’ve made. He wanted to break every running back record in the book and win the Heisman trophy to lock down the GOAT status for good.

“True Greatness only occurs when you’re chasing after what you truly want.” 

Two games into his senior season, Ricky was off to a great start… until a critical affair in Ricky’s life coincided with challenges on the field.

An outside source provided intel that Ricky’s girlfriend had relations with another player on the team. It turned out to be the quarterback taking home a ‘pick six’ with Ricky’s girl. Unfortunately, there was no referee on the play to throw a flag for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Ricky was knocked off balance after suffering the low blow from his own teammate. He sunk deeper in the hole after having the worst performance of his entire college career in the following game.

Ricky became hung up on his struggles and couldn’t understand why bad things were happening to him. All he could think about were the overwhelming problems surrounding his life from all directions. For the first time in his career, Ricky was questioning his dedication to the dream and whether he was still able to follow through on the job.

“It was definitely a full-time job, but we weren’t getting paid. And so it was the first experience I had where my personal life and my professional life were in conflict… Everything was moving in a direction that didn’t feel good.”

Ricky’s mind was filled with distractions like regret and excuses. All his closest friends began to worry as they observed that he wasn’t himself at all. He was in serious need of a reality check.

However, everything began to change when Ricky’s roommate convinced the star running back to let go of his D.A.R.E. programming and sit down for a good, ol’ smoke sesh’.

“Because of my conditioning, I wasn’t thinking this would help. I coughed and it wasn’t comfortable. But the end result was something that surprised me.”

To Ricky's astonishment, the impact of inhaling a thick, milky bong rip was felt immediately – after coughing his lungs out, of course. His anxiety faded and he was able to clear his mind of the negative, unproductive thoughts. Rather than obsessing over circumstances and ‘little shit” that were out of his control, Ricky felt a refreshed perspective of the situation.

“What can I do to make the situation better? Because if I’m thinking about the girl and the guy and the team – that’s all other people’s shit. I can’t control that. What I can control is my attitude and what I do next… The larger context is that I was trying to win a fucking Heisman trophy and break the record for most yards ever and there was little shit that was getting in the way.”

Ricky began to reflect on the ambitious goal that originally inspired him to come back for his final year of college. He reconnected with his dream to become the best running back to ever play college football and win the Heisman Trophy – visualizing the improvements to his performance and honing his step-by-step approach.

“I started thinking about the upcoming games and what I can do during the week of practice to improve. So instead of focusing on what I couldn’t control and what was wrong, I focused on what I could control and how I wanted to see things change.”

Ricky bounced back instantly with back to back 300 yard performances.

He steadily elevated towards his goals throughout the rest of the season applying a broadened perspective with a concentrated focus. Ricky found the silver lining of his adversity and pushed through to claim greatness.

Ricky finally won the 1998 Heisman Trophy and set the NCAA all-time records for rushing yards, all-purpose yards, and touchdowns during his senior year. 11-year old Ricky would be proud to discover how far his hard work and positive attitude can take him.

Going in, I had a big vision of greatness. And I kept with it, I kept with it, I kept with it. And I accomplished it. The accomplishment didn’t mean that much to me. What meant something to me was that I knew I could accomplish anything I set my mind to… No one can ever take that away from you.”

Growing up, Ricky was always taught that smoking and becoming an exceptional athlete could never go together. The strict “Just Say No” ideology that was indoctrinated throughout the 80’s and 90’s of Ricky’s childhood was slowly beginning to unravel after he experienced cannabis’ ability to redirect his energy towards chasing his dreams and goals. 

It was a key turning point as Ricky began to recognize the contrast between society’s negative portrayal of cannabis and the benefits it cultivated in his own life.

“Albert Einstein said, ‘You cannot solve a problem with the same mind that created it.’ When I smoked that night, I was able to rise above. As I was getting high, I lifted up and was able to rise above and see the bigger picture and that gave me perspective and insight on how to balance or manage the situation.”

This was the first time that Ricky’s personal experiences started slowly nudging him to pioneer a unique mindset and distinct Spark of Greatness.

"The Highsman Story: Part 2" coming soon!

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