Athlete and scholar rejects identity crisis

Dedicated to students on athletic scholarships and their teachers.

Myron Rolle, a Florida State defensive back, deferred his National Football League ambition to pursue a Rhodes scholarship at Oxford University, the makings of a nice story. It isn’t THE story.

That Rolle long ago recognized he isn’t defined by athletics, that he refused to allow a jersey or helmet to constrain self-awareness and personal esteem is what should really be saluted.

Rolle is an athlete, yes. A really good one. But there’s more than playing playmaker. Like being a son who recognizes that his parents sacrificed greatly when they left family in the Bahamas so the kids could have better. Like being the youngest of five brothers who credits his success to their friendship and guidance. Like being an academic and humanitarian. Like working to fulfill his goal of becoming a pediatric neurosurgeon.

For Rolle, whom scouts project as a top 50 draft pick, good enough to make him a millionaire, football isn’t first on the to-do list. Never has been, which is remarkable when you consider that so many athletes let themselves be defined by the games they play.


Update 201221: I am re-reading this 10+ years after and I can’t help but think about the Super Bowl winner -a medical doctor- who chose to opt out of the football season to care for his patients in times of covid-19. Respect.