From WJHS to KCU

Cory Laird

Going into high school as an eighth grader, everyone has that feeling of worry, the feeling of freedom. As I went into my freshman year, I had all of it: the worry, the new sense of freedom, the fear from the stories you are told. But as the year went along, the more comfortable I felt, the more I realized that the seniors were going to take care of the freshman as family. One major thing that will always stick with me and has made me who I am today would be the senior football players from my freshman year. They had this mindset of it didn’t matter what class you were – freshman, sophomore, junior or senior – you were family, and nothing would hurt or break that family.

The ability to play football for a school like West was an amazing opportunity, one that I will never get to relive. But it has set me up for the rest of my life, despite the hurdles and barriers I had to overcome. In the training season between my sophomore and junior season, I tore my ACL completely and tore over 80 percent of my meniscus. I had no clue I had done this, ask anyone. It was just as much of a shock for me as it was for everyone else. Anyone who has ever torn either their ACL or meniscus would tell you that it is a hard thing to come back from, let alone play sports after. It wasn’t waking up one day and saying, “I’m going to play sports again.” It was something that I had to work at every single day. I had to push myself pass my comfort zone and past the pain. Eventually, the pain just stopped and, because of that, I made one of the fastest recoveries from the surgery, and my knee felt stronger than ever.

NCSA is an athletic recruiting service for high school athletes thinking of pursuing sports in college. They set up a web page for you, you enter in all of your information and, based off that information, they try matching your profile with colleges that are looking for players similar to you. They make contacting colleges easy: any and all information you think you could need is there on the website for you to use. Around the middle of the season, I had Kentucky Christian University contact me, wanting me to schedule a campus visit. At the time, I had no idea there was a school called Kentucky Christian. After doing some research and contacting KCU admissions, I decided to schedule a visit. After the visit, I felt confident in KCU’s program, and NCSA allowed me to stay in contact with them.

Any high school athlete will tell you that the chance to play at the next level is an amazing opportunity, an opportunity that not every play has the chance to do. After all of the barriers I faced in my high school career, this opportunity is that much sweeter. They make the idea of it so much more special. It seems like just yesterday that I had this surgery, but on March 3, it will be two year – two years of pushing myself to get better and two years of pushing myself through the pain. Only 3-4 percent of high school football players ever go on to play in college after high school, and even though KCU is an NAIA school, I am still a part of that 3-4 percent.

Photo courtesy of Cory Laird

Photo courtesy of Cory Laird

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