Bryce Choate – Senior Oral Roberts University XC / Track and Field

“Track has been consistent through the most uncertain times of my life. My collegiate career began at a small NAIA institution, Tennessee Wesleyan University. My first two years were full of athletic success but mental struggles. I felt as if my life was a series of decisions based on everyone’s expectations. In the midst of my darkest times of confusion, my sophomore season exceeded everyone’s expectations. Although I questioned who I was, I could always count on track to keep me focused. My life was disoriented when my coach announced he was taking a position at another university. Despite many obstacles, I transferred to join my coach at Oral Roberts University.”

“The joy of becoming a DI student-athlete came to a screeching halt during my first season at ORU. Doctors found a mass in my chest that made it almost intolerable to eat and painful to run. Five months of bloodwork and testing ultimately ended with minimally invasive chest surgery. Those five months were when I hit rock bottom. With my sport stripped away, I was forced to examine my identity without it. Those days of questioning finally allowed me to discover who I really was. I returned with a new perspective of gratitude for everything in my life. I made a strong comeback the next year, but  Achilles tendinopathy ended my season again. Months of different treatments ultimately allowed me to come back for a fifth season. Everything was in order and looking towards the best comeback I could imagine. That is, until COVID-19 entered the global scene. For the third year in a row, my season has ended early for reasons outside my control.”

“This story sounds like a tragedy, but everything lined up for a reason. If any of those events were removed, I would not be who I am today. I might not have survived the trials I faced if I did not have the supportive community at ORU. My pain taught me a lesson that can help others going through similar trials. Every situation is an opportunity to grow and help those around us. I learned that track is something I do, but it is not who I am. Track is just one avenue where I can use my purpose to impact those around me.”

“Our purpose is so much bigger than our sport. You can have an impact without competing. I hope everyone reading this knows that you have value within you, not just in what you do. Let’s take the time to help one another. You will understand your value when you see how appreciative others are of your kindness. Be a light in the darkness of our world.”

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