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Former NFL player returns to BG to tell of success and hardship


Steve Sanders speaks to a group of students in Olscamp during his return to the University on April 28.

A former football player from the University came back to visit campus, but for reasons beyond the field.

Steve Sanders was on campus to discuss the process of being successful, not just on the field but also in life.

He spoke to a group of about 70 students on Monday night about soon-to-be released book, Training Camp for Life: Developing Champions in Sport and in Life.

The presentation Sanders gave consisted of a myriad of points pertaining to the process of being successful, which is the message he wants those who read his book to get.

“Success is a process, it’s not an end result,” Sanders said. “You can start things one way and it can turn out a totally different way in your life.”

This message and book is important to Sanders because he said it directly relates to the path that his personal life has taken.

Sanders is one of two people from his high school class to graduate college. However, he experienced extreme success while at BGSU accumulating over 2,000 receiving yards and 24 touchdowns, and earned an opportunity to play in the NFL.

After five years in the NFL, Sanders elected to retire which lead to further adversity for him. Ultimately he directed his focus to helping the youth, giving back to the community, and becoming an influential figure that those aspiring to be successful can look up to.

This unpredictable path brought Sanders back to campus in order to share his insight to those who were looking for direction and inspiration.

“Everybody, whether it’s Bill Gates or Michael Jordan, at some point in time they’ve had some level of inspiration in their lives,” Sanders said. “That’s what I look to do is be that inspiration and I know Training Camp for Life is going to be that inspiration.”

To address this idea of being successful, Sanders introduced his three “I’s” which he hopes help to layout the process during his speech.

“To be inspired, impacted and influenced,” Sanders said. “All of those things are going to really prepare them towards the journey that they’re going on and the level of success that they’re going to achieve in their lives.”

The director of marketing for Training Camp for Life, Nobles Darby spoke on Sanders’ message and its importance in ultimately becoming successful in life.

“Success in life is not going to come without a cost,” Darby said. “You’re going to have to sacrifice blood, sweat, tears, family, friends, money, whatever is near and dear to you. You’re going to have to sacrifice those things in order to really accomplish what you desire in life.”

Sanders came back to campus in order relay his knowledge, influence those on a journey in life and this message impacted some of those in attendance, he said.

“I thought the presentation was good,” said Jamel Martin, a senior football player. “I got the chance to ask my question to him and I think he helps influence people.”

Not only were students seeing the benefits from the presentation by Sanders, but his message also extended to the BGSU staff.

“He’s a real example of someone who overcame conditions that were really against him,” said Nancy Spencer, a sport management professor. “It proves the fact that hard work really pays off. I’m thinking about what that next step is going to be and I think the clarity of vision he talked about is important to me.”

Although, Sanders isn’t just content with stopping here.

He is making this book into a three book series. This series is intended to continually help people along their journey while growing deeper in topics on the process of being successful, Sanders said.

“The current book talks about three main points and that’s success, goals and support,” Sanders said. “The next book in the series is going to talk about three to four different topics and [each book is] going to go a little deeper.”

Sanders ended his dream as a football player to pursue his newfound dream of helping others along the journey to achieve their dreams.

“I think he has a strong message and he is inspirational to people and I’ll be interested to see how his story develops,” Spencer said.

The story of Steve Sanders is still growing as he continues to pursue and develop the concept of Training Camp for Life. While Sanders felt he had his life figured out as he played collegiate football and then transitioned his ability to the NFL, he wasn’t ever truly at peace with himself until he began his newest journey.

It’s this journey that Sanders said he wants his audience to embrace.

“You don’t have life figured out,” Sanders said. “Continue to stay with it and enjoy the process and I think that you’ll ultimately find what you’re called to do and what you’re supposed to be doing.”

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