Choosing Family over DI Football: A Story of Growth

DaShaun Curtis was a star running back as a high school player in Cassopolis, Michigan. But when his mom got sick, he had to rethink his Division I football plans.

In memory of Sidonia Elizabeth Curtis, who passed away on January 5, 2018. Grotto invites you to join us in praying for DaShaun and his family. May she rest in peace.

Video Transcript

DaShaun Curtis: Imagine — 18 years old, thinking you’re going pro, and your college coach says he doesn’t want you, “Now get out of my office.”

Friday night football — it doesn’t get any better that in Cassopolis[, Michigan]. Everything pretty much gets shut down. Everybody goes to the football games. I actually got moved up as a freshman. I was really not wanting to get the ball at all. I didn’t want to play offense at all. So when he told me I was going in after halftime, I was nervous, shaking.

The first play was a lead right, I think. That takes me through the three hole, and I got bumped a few times coming straight off the line and made it past a few people. And my mom is running with me from one end of the field to the next. She yelling, “Go Rangers!” running with me.

I scored the first time I touched the ball, and from then on, I was the running back. All eyes were on me from then on. So I knew things were changing and people were looking at me, and kids will have my name on their back. I would come home from school or practice and my little brother’s at home watching my highlight films.

My mom, she just missed a game one day. After the game, they told me she was in the hospital and this and that. I don’t know. I might get emotional, I don’t know.

Right now she has something in her heart that pumps medicine in her 24 hours a day. She couldn’t work anymore, and we was living in an apartment complex. We no food, no nothing, because at first they wouldn’t give her no disability, nothing. So we was just struggling. She can’t work, because she can’t breathe like she’s supposed to. So I knew I had to grow up.

A lot of people still to this day talk bad to me or tell me that I’m making the wrong decisions and this and that. But you never know somebody’s struggle until you sit down and talk to them. They really never came inside our home. No one ever knew. They just see a kid playing football.

DaShaun’s community and several DI coaches expected him to sign with a major program. Instead, he chose to attend a local community college. That program turned him away.

DaShaun Curtis: After high school, everybody just talked bad about me not playing football no more. I really want to go far and play big D1 football now, because I don’t want the call saying my mom’s sick and I have to get on a plane, get on the bus and go home, and now I don’t make it, and she’s gone. I never wanted that to happen. So college was, I don’t know. I didn’t know who I was. I was trying to figure it out.

I went back home, and started hanging out in the apartment complex all the time and drinking and out all night. There’s police over there all the time. So it was just a lot going on, so I had to really sit back and think on what I was gonna do next. Because I wasn’t planning on being at the apartment complex.

My grandparents, they knew, “You’re gonna go to jail.” That’s what they was telling me. I felt like a bum, not doing nothing. It took me a long time to just decide, “Hey, go cut hair,” because I was the only one with some clippers. So people be like, “Line me up before this basketball game,” all through high school.

It was super frustrating, because not just football, I was always good at everything I did. It didn’t matter. So when I got to cutting hair, I wasn’t so good. That was real frustrating. I just had to walk by faith, believing that I could be a barber, because I’ve messed up heads. I wasn’t that good when I started, but I had to keep going and keep practicing, keep getting better, believe that this day would be here, that I would have a barber shop, I would have a decent clientele base.

Now, I’m just somebody in the community. I go to football games on Friday nights, support Cass. I was Ranger born and Ranger bred.

You gotta walk by faith, not by sight. I tell everybody that on the regular. I express that to people all the time, because you gotta have a belief. You gotta have faith that things are gonna happen. People can’t see oxygen, but it’s still there, and you’re still breathing.

I do believe God is working wonders through me. He’s showing me the right way now.

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