Pat Tillman

Mike - San Luis Obispo, California
Entered on May 1, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

“The fact that he was the ultimate team player and he watched his own men kill him is absolutely heartbreaking and tragic. The fact that [the military] lied about it afterward is disgusting.” – Mary Tillman

Pat Tillman enlisted in the United States Army after declining a 3.6 million dollar football contract with the Arizona Cardinals. Initially, his death was claimed as the result of an ambush. However, we know now that it was caused by three real friendly shots to the forehead. There wasn’t even any enemy fire.

He went to my high school, and his mother was a teacher at my middle school. Subsequently, the Pat Tillman Foundation was created along with a 4.2 mile race through my neighborhood. I ran it last year believing in Pat Tillman and his sad story as an inspiration.

Up until senior year of high school, I made no effort whatsoever towards my health. It was only when I got over video games and starting damaging my body, when I started to care. I’ve been trying to stay in good physical health afterwards, yet college life has definitely taken its toll. I have taken my freshman fifteen and then some, primarily from drinking. After spring break, my lungs felt like they were ready to explode. I got pretty depressed whenever I looked at what I was doing to myself.

I figure since I started from scratch and did well last year, I should be able to improve my time this year. I just need motivation, and I must say that the military lying in order to preserve their image and recruitment is like a fire under my heels. Adding to that is their disgrace, as Pat gave them his life and career.

It’s a great feeling now when I blow off drinking with my friends to go running instead. After a good sweat with some good music, I’m in a much better mood. Overall I just feel like a better person, and I’m ready to see what I can do this upcoming weekend. I believe that with Pat as an inspiration, and with the right motivation, I will succeed.