Editors note: This is a guest post from Tyler Poor of Someone Could’ve Warned Me
Week 11: I am a Man
“Someone Could’ve Warned Me” WARNING of the week! I may get a little political up in this the blog. What I am about to say shouldn’t offend anyone, but rather inspire you. No apologies will be made before or after. Consider yourselves warned!!!
In recent weeks the debate over how success is obtained has taken shape over the political spectrum. Pundits on both sides are battling it out trying to prove their case. Is it the collective? Or is it the individual? Is it because of the roads and bridges built by societies tax dollars? Or is it an idea followed by some old-fashioned hard work. Well I’d like to throw in my two cents in the form of a story, a story about one of my best friends and his meteoric rise.
Dustin Roberts, or “Buster” as I call him, is a large man. When he walks into a room he commands attention. His 6’3” 260lb frame fills a doorway, but make no mistake, he is as solid as a steel beam. His shaved head gives him an uncanny resemblance to Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher that people often make double takes as they walk by. He’s the kind of guy that will engulf you with his bear paw when he shakes your hand, and leave you a bit intimidated when you hear his “Barry White” voice say, “hello”.
I don’t notice any of these things anymore partly because I grew up with him, and because I also know the saint that raised him. Candice, to which he calls his “mom”, runs through his veins making him a pretty gentle giant. I pick on him as if he was my little brother all the while hoping someday he doesn’t decide to throw me across the room. It’s all in good fun, though because he never misses an opportunity to poke fun at my weight, and my lack of muscle. Last week, I picked up my phone and saw a text from him that read, “I got the job I wanted”.
Though we don’t see each other that often we do keep in contact regularly, and I knew exactly what he was referring to. Dustin has had a plan in place since I first met him, and it was about to reach another gigantic milestone. Needless to say I was ecstatic for my pal, not only because he had grabbed a hold of this huge goal in his life, but because I know where he comes from and how he got there.
Dustin grew up in the same small town that I did in Fairfield, MT. Population of 600 people, maybe a thousand if you count all the surrounding farms. Like most small towns across the country, sports drive the soul of the community, and like all of us boys growing up Dustin was going to be a star on the field. He had a lot going for him too. His shear size and strength were something everyone in the town was excited about. The first thing everyone notices about him is his legs. Which leave you wondering where a guy like him buys jeans to fit them. His calves are literally the size of dinner plates, and if you ask him where he got them he’d tell you they were developed riding his bike up the hill to his house everyday as a kid.
The weight room came easy for him, though he never took that for granted and never missed a workout. I remember him knocking himself unconscious on two occasions while doing push presses. The fist time he dropped a ton of weight on the back of his neck sending him right to his knees, leaving his entire body tingling. The second time came as he gathered himself and pressed the bar upward from his chest and jacked himself in the jaw with a momentous 225lbs. He was a beast in the weight room and minor injures like these wouldn’t keep him from being right back the next morning for training. I don’t know where he got his work ethic from, but needless to say he probably had a chip on his shoulder.
Buster comes from humble beginnings with a humble upbringing. His mom is a long time employee at our local telephone company, and his dad is a machinist with his own shop out in back of their house. His character is derived directly from them. His soft side from his mom who never missed an opportunity to be there and support us growing up, and his toughness from his dad who never let Dustin give anything but his best in all aspects of life. Dustin never had a lot, probably because his parents spent all their money feeding him and his brothers. One of my favorite stories is the time he showed up for a High School basketball tournament in his “Spalding” shoes with his small toe blown out on the side from his giant feet. His solution was to wrap them with some duct tape and go out and score 20pts and grab 15 rebounds, or so the legend goes.
Finally, one of our other friend’s dads had enough, and bought him a pair of Nikes. Though Buster never had much in the same token he never wanted anything either. His mind-set was that he didn’t need the proper attire to work his ass off, and he would need every ounce of his hard work to get by. Size and strength were his blessing, but his curse was absolutely no athletic ability whatsoever. I guess God became distracted when he drew up Busters blueprints because he was clearly missing something. Nothing phased his determination though. He worked harder, gave more, and rose to the occasion more times than any kid I have ever seen play. He took on guys that were faster, stronger, and had way more potential everyday of his life and that was “ok” with him. He even took on the Montana weather. Montana football games are sometimes played in the driving snow at sub-zero temperatures. As the rest of the team bundled up in anything they could find to stay warm, Dustin wore just what he had to, his pads, jersey, and helmet. God must have blessed him with insanity along with warm blood instead. All through High School he left his blood, sweat, and tears on our football field and when the time came for us to move on to college he didn’t want it to end. Dustin was never recruited, by anyone, but with the help of Mr. Flamm, one of our teachers, he went and “found” a school that wanted a guy just like him.
Dickenson State University decided that Buster deserved a scholarship to their school. I think we all were a little shocked to be honest, but hell, we were proud too. Again Dustin found himself at the bottom with a lot of work to do. No matter what college football program you go to, the guys are built to play football. He would marry himself to the weight room once again. He took a school job overseeing the facility during his off time, handing out towels and cleaning equipment. When he wasn’t at practice or in the classroom, he was in the gym pushing his body and getting big. In total, Dustin put on another 60 or more pounds of solid muscle. That was just enough to earn him conference awards his senior year. Somehow a kid with a little bit of size and nothing else worked his way past the odds and found himself standing on top as a decorated collegiate athlete with a college education. It would be enough to stop there, congratulate him, and send him on his way with a pat on the back, but Busters goals didn’t end with football.
Most college students leave their institutions with a degree, but they also all leave with debt from school loans. Dustin was no different, and that meant the real world was standing right in front of him, and this time no weight room was going to fix the issue. It was time to get a job. I think what he did next was insane, but maybe some of you wont. As kids we all heard about these tough jobs working oil rigs out in eastern Montana, North Dakota, and Wyoming, but we never gave much thought about actually working them. Well as Dustin left one goal conquered and moved onto another and took on those rigs. All in all I don’t know how long he worked on them but that wasn’t the point for me. The point was he didn’t want any debts. So with a decent paycheck he put it all into his school loans till they were finished. I think I got a call when he handled that goal too; apparently he likes to rub these things in my face. With his bills paid and an ability to “BS” his way through almost any situation, learned from the free-flowing mouths of rig workers, he set his sights on where he sits today.
Dustin took low-level job with Nalco Energy selling oil testing chemicals. He did very well, and showed up everyday letting everyone know that he was going to rise in the company and make waves. He told me as he interviewed for a higher position with his regional boss, that the guy asked him something along the lines of, “where do you see yourself going in this company?” Dustin, not shy in his response said, “I don’t mean this disrespectfully sir, but I am coming after your job.” If I remember correctly the manager laughed and said, “I don’t doubt you”. So this takes us back to the text message I received from my good friend just last week.
“I got the job I wanted”, it said, and at 28yrs old Dustin Roberts is headed to Angola, Africa to manage all of Chevron’s accounts for Nalco Energy. Without anyone even realizing it, he is easily one of the most successful people to come out of our town in a long time. In the coming weeks he will head back to Fairfield to see his beautiful mom and his dad. And as all the people around the country squabble over non-sense on how you become successful, real people like my buddy aren’t paying much attention and they’re living their dreams to make their parents proud.
Be amazingly grateful for those who have filled in the tiny gaps in your life, and gave you a helping hand. Dustin has tearfully thanked every one of them; I know that for a fact. As I have seen first hand, unless you show up every single day to give it your all, the chances of your reaching your full potential are slim. The government has nothing to do with your success, “Greatness is found in the individual willing to lay it all on the line”.
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