The odds of making it to the NFL are incredibly slim. But not for the kids who 13 years ago belonged to the Cali Rising Stars track team.
As explained by Jay Skurski of the Buffalo News, six of those 11- and 12-year-olds have made it to the NFL. One of the former Rising Stars is Bills receiver Victor Bolden Jr.
“I know that’s crazy,” Bolden told Skurski regarding the number of teammates who made it to the highest level of football. “That’s something people would tell you would never happen, but the collection of hard work that we’ve been putting in since that age has gotten us to this point. A lot of people will tell you to surround yourself with like-minded people, and it works.”
It definitely did for those six, a group that includes Bolden, Packers running back Jamaal Williams, Rams cornerback Dont’e Deayon, Titans defensive back Dane Cruikshank, Dolphins receiver Trenton Irwin, and former Patriots receiver Darren Andrews, currently a free agent.
“I mean, honestly for us, that was everybody’s dream to play in the NFL,” Bolden said. “We never looked at it as like, ‘All of us ended up making it, it’s going to be a rare thing or such a hard task to do.’ The goal in mind was to make the NFL. I don’t think we had any doubt in our minds that we couldn’t get to this level, just because of the amount of work that we were putting in. . . . We were serious as far as athletics goes since that age. If you work hard, you can get to this point.”
It’s a great message, for anyone pursuing anything. Having a goal and pushing for it brings meaning and purpose and value. And even if the original goal ultimately isn’t achieved, the climb can lead to all sorts of interesting destinations.