Darien Rencher is a reserve running back in the Clemson football program. The rising fifth year senior and former walk-on is also possibly one of the most inspirational stories on the team.
Rencher is a product of TL Hannah High School in Anderson, just down the road from Clemson. After a stellar freshman season in high school, interest in the running back started to soar.
However, after tearing his left ACL playing basketball before his sophomore season. then tearing the ACL in his right knee, along with his MCL and PCL in a preseason scrimmage the following year, most teams started to back off.
Two surgically repaired knees would not deter the 5' 9" 195 pound running back, and he would eventually earn a spot on the Clemson roster as a walk-on. After redshirting in 2016, he played 42 snaps the next two seasons before finally earning a scholarship in 2018.
Rencher's story is one of determination. He recently shared some of his thoughts on the COVID-19 pandemic, and reading them gives one some insight on the kind of man his journey has led him to become.
I am aware that this topic is touchy right now. Truly, I hope this finds you well and that this would be helpful.
Coming in, there was as much excitement as I’ve ever seen about 2020. It was supposed to be the year that we saw all of our visions come true -- “20/20 vision.” Sadly, we haven’t even hit the midway mark and many of us feel tempted to throw in the towel.
If I’ve learned anything about vision, it’s that a vision is best when it's clear. Although 2020 has been tragic thus far, if we take a step back we might see that these tragic events could be doing just what we need: clearing our vision. Stay with me.
Currently, everything, and I mean everything, has been shut down. We have been ordered to quarantine and participate in social distancing. This pandemic is definitely affecting all of us in some way, and none of us are in control.
However, in the midst of the madness we face, some of this ‘timeout’ seems oddly timely.
I don’t think I am by myself in this.
The ‘world as we know it’ has put on pause, and in return has given us all a break. We all have been forced to take a seat. There’s only so much we can fill our time with before we are left to think, like really think, about what matters. Maybe, there’s some good in all of this. Just maybe.
I am not saying that the coronavirus is good in itself, but I am saying God has always turned things meant for evil into good. In my life, I’ve seen the most growth occur during the times of adversity. If we desire to experience the good from this, then we must choose to listen to Him. He isn’t speaking any louder than He usually does, but He does have our undivided attention.
Here is what I think He is saying right now:
1. SLOW DOWN — Pace. We all love to be rested, but we struggle making time to rest. As a result, we have found ourselves burnt out. During this time, it’s been beautiful to see us all regroup for a second. People are doing the things they’ve wished they had made time for: family dinners, walks, new hobbies, exercise, connection, reading books, starting new habits, YOU READ A BLOG, etc. These things have been refreshing to see and experience. Humanity is taking the journey of life in, and not just rushing through it.
2. BE STILL — Presence. The thing we all want for ourselves and those around us, but very few us ever take time to do. During this pause, I’ve seen myself and others be more fully present where we are because we aren’t thinking of everywhere we have to be. We are being fully present with our friends (roommates only, due to self quarantining of course), families, pets, and most importantly fully present with ourselves. This time has forced me to think about how I REALLY am. I can’t run away from it because there’s nothing to run to. Stillness gives us the opportunity to have deep reflection and connection, two things essential to a healthy life.
3. KEEP IT SIMPLE — Priority. Tough times prove what our priorities really are. This timeout has helped us all see what's most important. There are a lot of good things out there, but not everything is foundational. Often, it’s the things we overlook that matter the most. In a world full of a million things trying to get our attention, it is important to set priorities on what really matters.
2020 is helping us develop that clear 20/20 vision. In order for this year to be what we want it to be, we can’t leave these lessons behind. The question isn’t if we will get through this. Humanity has always overcome tough times. It’s what we do. The question is rather how will we return to this post-corona life/normalcy?
A person I follow posted this and it shook me in the best way:
“The biggest loss in the end is if we come out on the other side unchanged.”
Let’s all choose to come out on the other side better, together.
Thank you for reading, be blessed.
— DARIEN RENCHER