By his own admission, Billy Miller was on his way to joining an elite but unfortunate group. “After their playing days are over, many NFL players’ lives fall apart: 80% go bankrupt, 50% get divorced, many experience both. For guys who, at one point, were on top of the world, it’s a staggering statistic.”
By the third year of his football career, Billy was heading down that road, “living recklessly,” in his words; partying and spending; trying to keep up with the older guys. How he caught himself before a major fall and transformed his life to one of focus and purpose is an inspiring story.
Billy Miller was born in Los Angeles and spent the majority of his childhood in South Central L.A. “I didn’t grow up with a lot of money; didn’t have a whole lot of role models,” he said. “My parents worked hard to try to keep a roof over our heads. It was me, my mom, my dad, and eventually we had my brother, and then my sister.
“I saw my first shooting around five; I probably saw my first dead body at eight. We had an alley behind our house and there was a lot of drug activity going on, and sometimes those deals went bad. When you grow up in a neighborhood like that, you’re never able to really be yourself, because you’re always concerned about what could happen next. You’re always on guard.”
From the time Billy was very young, his father planted the seeds for ideas and dreams that would set him on his path in life. “When my dad was frustrated because of a situation we were in, he would always tell me that I would be better than this. He was really fond of football and always told me, from a very young age, ‘You’re going to play in the NFL one day.’ And, he said it so often, I believed that was what I was going to do. It kept me focused. I didn’t look at it as pressure. It gave me something to try to change in my life; a goal to set for myself: to not be satisfied with my environment, to not settle, to not go down the wrong path and do things that would keep me away from that goal.
“Now, did I believe that I was actually going to the NFL? Absolutely not. But it was just a dream and a goal that kept me on the straight and narrow. My dad definitely started that dream in me.”
One of Billy’s strongest characteristics, then and now, is his desire to please his family. “I was driven by the fact that I wanted to make them proud, that I wanted them to see that I was going to be an example of positive change, of growing up a certain way but then having an opportunity to become something different.
“I think that the reason that I made it, and some of my other friends who are by far better athletes than I am, didn’t, is choices—choices that I made and things that I did to stay on the straight and narrow. That’s the reason that I’m able to have a career in NFL. Some of my friends did not make good choices, which led them to jail, or not doing as good in school as they needed to, or other things that might have held them back. Sometimes it comes down to those simple choices that make the difference in the direction that your life takes.” Billy is grateful for his Dad’s constant reminders that his life will be better. This gave Billy confidence and helped him develop the inner strength and insight to make the right choices. To read more click here ==> http://www.theinsightfulplayer.com/2010/03/10/billy-miller/