You're 21 years old. You've played football for more than half your life. You had one dream: to play in the NFL.
And you've worked hard to get good - really good - good enough to make it to the NFL draft. This is something that thousands of little boys dream of, but something few ever achieve.
But you, you've made it.
Can you imagine? Can you imagine the excitement, the anticipation of being one phone call away from having all your dreams come true? And not just for you, but for your friends, your family, the people who love you, the people who got you there.
Ben Tate was the Houston Texans' second-round draft pick this year. When he got "the call", shouts of celebration and tears of joy erupted from him and his friends and family.
Ben's season is over. On Aug. 15th, his ankle was broken during a pre-season game against the Arizona Cardinals. His first NFL game.
Now, being the fan that I am, I can't deny that there is something about the brutal , physical battles between these modern day gladiators that I love. But, Ben's story - one of many that make the pre-season headlines - makes my heart ache for him, and for all the others.
I just imagine the shock and the crushing disappointment of having the dream you've worked so hard for, and just barely got to taste, stolen from you in a moment. When I see these things happen, I feel sick. Is this just my "girl" showing?
Of course, I'm sure that the Texans plan to "get value" from this "pick" next year. Coach Gary Kubiak said, "The surgery should be fine, he should be back playing next year. But it's a big blow. We were counting on him a great deal. He's a dang good-looking young player."
But, in the "win-now" NFL with coaches' jobs at stake, a lock-out looming and other talented young men fighting to take his place, I would imagine Ben Tate had a hard time choking down his birthday cake on Saturday.
I bet I know what he wished for when he blew out those 22 candles...