Hey, where'd you go?

Marcus Lattimore - former San Francisco 49ers, University of South Carolina RB

January 06, 2021 Collin Kushner / Marcus Lattimore Season 1 Episode 1
Hey, where'd you go?
Marcus Lattimore - former San Francisco 49ers, University of South Carolina RB
Chapters
Hey, where'd you go?
Marcus Lattimore - former San Francisco 49ers, University of South Carolina RB
Jan 06, 2021 Season 1 Episode 1
Collin Kushner / Marcus Lattimore

After living in South Carolina for most of his life, Marcus Lattimore has embarked on a new journey in Portland, Oregon, serving as a Life Coach at Lewis and Clark College. Long before his time in the Pacific Northwest, Marcus was widely considered one of the best players in all of college football. But after sustaining two catastrophic knee injuries, Marcus' football career & overall perspective on life changed. In this episode, we talk about his childhood in Duncan, South Carolina, his football career at the University of South Carolina, his blog on self-reflection, spirituality, being a life coach, and so much more. Football is no longer Marcus Lattimore's top priority it's helping young men and women discover themselves, guiding them through the trials and tribulations of life. 


Show Notes Transcript

After living in South Carolina for most of his life, Marcus Lattimore has embarked on a new journey in Portland, Oregon, serving as a Life Coach at Lewis and Clark College. Long before his time in the Pacific Northwest, Marcus was widely considered one of the best players in all of college football. But after sustaining two catastrophic knee injuries, Marcus' football career & overall perspective on life changed. In this episode, we talk about his childhood in Duncan, South Carolina, his football career at the University of South Carolina, his blog on self-reflection, spirituality, being a life coach, and so much more. Football is no longer Marcus Lattimore's top priority it's helping young men and women discover themselves, guiding them through the trials and tribulations of life. 


Marcus Lattimore:

I've received more satisfaction in life talking to a 14 year old female. Who's torn her ACL three times than any touchdown that I've ever scored in Williams-Brice Stadium.I was inducted into the hall of fame for South Carolina. Yeah, that was great. But helping people get through tough times is a lot more gratifying. It's a lot more satisfying than any of that.

Collin Kushner:

Welcome to the "Hey, where'd you go? Podcast. I'm Collin Kushner. My goal is to catch up with former high school collegiate and professional athletes focusing on what they're doing today. My first guest is one of the most decorated prep and collegiate athletes in the entire state of South Carolina. He was also drafted by the San Francisco 49ers back in 2013. And now he's currently living in Portland, Oregon, serving as a life coach for the Lewis and Clark football program. Football accolades aside, he's more than just a top-notch athlete. He's a writer, a deep thinker has a ton of wisdom and a wonderful perspective on life. Put your hands together for Marcus Lattimore. Marcus really appreciate you taking the time, dude. How are you? How's the wife. How's the poodle you guys. We're in Portland, Oregon.

Marcus Lattimore:

Collin. Thanks for having me. And thanks for asking that question. My family is one of the most important things to me and , um , Portland is beautiful right now. I'm doing well. Uh, we are in the thick of developing our, our student athletes at Lewis and Clark, which is where I work now. Um , my wife, she's doing yoga and mindfulness. She's loving that. And my dog , uh , she loves this climate here in Portland, Oregon. That's a little bit rainy this morning, but it's 55 and this it's a, it's a, it's a Portland morning. Uh, so, so I'm enjoying life. I can't complain at all.

Collin Kushner:

It's a little bit different than Duncan, South Carolina.

Marcus Lattimore:

Yeah. Uh, just a little bit. It's , uh, I love my home state. I love the state of South Carolina. Uh, it's where I grew. Uh, it's where I made my name and the people there have, have supported me ever since I've been 15 years old. Uh, I will always love the state of South Carolina, the beaches, the food , uh, and just genuinely good people. Uh, but I knew there was a lot more out there for me personally and my wife. Uh, we wanted to live somewhere different. We've always been wanderers , uh, we've always been fascinated with different cultures and different societies and we , we love to travel and we knew that we wanted to live somewhere differently other than South Carolina and, you know, venturing up and down the West coast. Uh, I fell in love with Portland, Oregon, and , uh, it's just a beautiful place to be outdoor Mecca, a place where I can grow some more.

Collin Kushner:

Marcus, I want to start from the early days of Marcus Lattimore how would you best describe Duncan, South Carolina, to somebody like myself? How would you describe the people, the food , um, and , and just that part of the country?

Marcus Lattimore:

Well, it's a special part of the country. It really is where I'm from Duncan. It's a very small town. It's about 3000 people. The high school that I went to it's in district five and that's how we break up our , our school districts and district one all the way up. Duncan's a beautiful place. It really is. It's the prototypical Southern small town, Friday night lights , uh, everybody's supporting the home team, good barbecue growing up in Duncan it's , uh, it , it , it really is a kid's dream , uh, for one who loves athletics, who loves the game of football. Uh, all we had was a field , uh , w w we had football, we played sports in Duncan. We produce athletes and , uh, and a lot of amazing coaches, you know, I can vividly remember gathering with my friends at different areas within the city. And, you know, we were doing one thing, you know, and that was tossing the football around scraping the knees , uh , uh, again , tackled in the sticky briars . It's a kid's dream. A lot of my memories have a lot to do with injuries and the , and that theme kind of continued into my high school and college career. Uh, but I mean, I wouldn't want life in the other way. I mean, we had a great time. I have a lot of friends from the nineties that are still my friends today, as we're closing in on 30 years old.

Collin Kushner:

Amazing how, how you could have friends for that long. I mean, it's , it's incredible that you meet somebody you're playing around. The next thing, you know, you're almost 30 and you're like, I've known you for 27 years.

Marcus Lattimore:

And I think that's the benefit of growing up in a small town. You know , that's one of the things that we take for granted is those lifelong relationships that we built . You know, we played football all the way up in middle school , uh, in high school, you know, and I was blessed enough to play with a childhood friend in college, growing up in a small town and the importance and the value of having a community behind you. It's special. We won a lot of games because of our crowd. There was nothing for us to have 2000 and 3000 people at a high school game. I'm forever grateful. And I cherish those memories.

Collin Kushner:

You guys probably had more fans at your high school football games. Then the Detroit lions get at their national football league games.

Marcus Lattimore:

You know what? That's not an exaggeration. Our junior year, we're playing our cross town rival. There were 25,000 people within that stadium. The stadium only sat 5,000. You relish those opportunities. You soak in that moment. Life was just fun. Life was a lot of fun. Growing up in the small

Collin Kushner:

Duncan kind of has that Friday night lights vibe. Was that something, when you were a little kid, you went to those high school games and you could envision yourself on the

Marcus Lattimore:

Field. I didn't only go to the high school games. I wore the jerseys of the high school players that were playing it's creates this spirit inside of you that says I can't wait to put on that Jersey. I can't wait to be a part of that. Our high school coach at the time, Bobby Bentley, he created that type of spirit from the time we were seven years old, all the way until we got to high school, we were running the same place and little league in middle school. We w we were called the little rebels. He created a sense of this is important. Uh, come be a part of this. And it was just natural for us to fall right into that lineage. And we did, and we just respected the legacy of the burns rebels. And that's something that has kind of been in with Ben and me a long time.

Collin Kushner:

You know, I find it amazing that coming from the state of South Carolina, you don't have any professional franchises. The closest thing you have, you have Clemson university of South Carolina. So I find it really cool that when you're a little kid, you're not wearing an NFL Jersey, you're putting on that burns high school Jersey of the kids that are maybe 10 years older than you. Um, me growing up in orange County, California, that never happened. And , and I think that's what makes where you grew up. So

Marcus Lattimore:

It means so much to us. And I think because we weren't exposed to a lot , uh, that that was our entertainment. Uh, that was our recreation. It was our sport. It was our love, it was our everything, and, and the community rallied around us. It was just something that we knew that was important at a young age. We came together how important it was for us to be a part of that lineage. You know, it , it was ingrained into our head at a very young age to be a burns rebel. You had to operate a certain way. It's memories. I can tell my kids one day,

Collin Kushner:

When you put on that Jersey for the first time as a player, as a 14, 15 year old, what did that feel like? Because for so many years, you're wearing somebody else's Jersey, and now for the first time you get to pull on that burns Jersey for yourself. And you're going out on the field, you're running downhill Mo and guys over

Marcus Lattimore:

A dream. A dream is really the only way to describe it , uh , because I didn't, I wasn't looking forward to college. I was looking forward to being a burns rebel. My heroes will a guy that played that Clemson , uh, had a very interesting career in college, but he was my hero growing up, Prince Miller, another guy born and raised in Duncan, South Carolina. Uh, my hero growing up, went to play at the university of Georgia, Everett, Dawkins , Florida state university. Uh, all of these guys I watched ever since I was a little kid and, you know, even my brother, my brother played at the same high school, you know, w it , it created that you just wanted to be a part of that because your role models were doing the same thing. And they influenced us so much that would show up at our elementary schools and read to us. They would show up at our middle schools and give us talks. They were our North stars. They guided us and we just wanted to be a part of that.

Collin Kushner:

And you started having success on the football field, Marcus , uh , you were South Carolina's Mr. Football. You played in the U S army All-American bowl in 2010. When you started having that success and you saw kids wearing your Jersey, how did that make you feel?

Marcus Lattimore:

It's surreal. Doesn't feel real. It's cool. You don't know how to respond in those types of situations. When it first initially started, I was a little bit afraid. I didn't want that big of a responsibility on my shoulders. You grow up in South Carolina, you kind of get used to it if you're excelling on the football field. So it just becomes a part of who you are. And I , and I knew that I was following in the lineage of the guys that I looked at, the guys jerseys that I wore, and they bear that responsibility. So why could not , uh, and they did a great job with it. And I knew my purpose in life then was to be a good role model and show kids , uh, how to get to this level, you know? And at that time, you know, just being very naive and young, I thought life was all about football. I thought, and I , I knew the impact that I could make through football. I that's something I completely understood, but I thought life was about football. It opened the door. You know, that experience of having people look at you as somebody to look up to it opened the door to a whole new world. I can say that.

Collin Kushner:

Do you think though, Marcus, with that much responsibility comes unrealistic expectations. You're a teenager. You're in high school. And although it is cool that kids look up to, and I think we briefly discussed this when we spoke a few weeks ago, unrealistic expectations and people assuming that, and I'm guilty of this too. Looking at athletes, looking at them as if they're a superhero 24, seven, seven days a week. When in reality, once you're done on the football field and you go home, you have, you could have the similar that you have similar things going on at somebody like myself would have. I believe

Marcus Lattimore:

That's the biggest downfall. You know, that people put their hope into 17 and 18 year olds. People depend on them to entertain, to be a good role model , uh, to be a good citizen. You're expected to be perfect in a sense, we all know that if you're human, that's impossible, but at the same time, with a young mind at that age, you're going to do everything in your power to put your best foot forward. All right. So if you have to put on a facade and pretend as if everything's okay, that's what you're going to do. Uh , if you have to put on the front to try and , uh , make people believe that you're okay. I mean, that , that, that's what you're going to do because you have this idea that society has put you in a box. This is who you are. This is only who you , who you can be. And you're looked at in a certain light, you looked at in this such a positive light, the defendant body is to see a flaw or a weakness. So you make a mistake. You feel like the world is crumbling around you. And that's a dangerous spot for a young man to be in. Who's getting a lot of attention in high school or in college, because that leads to him covering up some things that he doesn't like about himself, or some things that he may struggle with or not having the courage , uh, to cry or show his emotions. I think that's dangerous.

Collin Kushner:

Do you think that you had that much pressure because Marcus, you you're one of the most decorated high school athletes in the entire state of South Carolina and the entire country. I remember we're , we're the same age I remember reading about you, you know, and I , and I would always think to myself as a 16 and 17 year old, this is so cool, but I only looked at it through that lens of that superhero lens. I never looked at it from the other side that if you mess up, or if you, if one thing happens, then everyone's just going to jump on you. And you think the world's going to come to an end, like you said,

Marcus Lattimore:

And that's when the mask develops. It develops at that young age. When you live in this light, when you live with this idea that you can't make mistakes, you have to be perfect. You have to be on all the time. People have a certain perception of you and you must match their perception. I dealt with that pressure. I dealt with that struggle. I vividly remember being in high school because I just wanted to be normal so bad just because you could run a football. Well does not mean that you're not human humans deal with a lot or an array of different emotions. And so the football players may be even more just because of the pressure that they're getting from their coaches. But on 4th of July, it was 4th of July. I don't remember the exact date, but my friends and I, we were hanging out. We had some fireworks. I decided to pop a firework in school. What I've realized now , uh, 12 years later, that was just an act of rebellion. I wanted to be normal. I was conditioned to pretend as if everything was okay when I just wanted to blend in. I just wanted to blend in with my friends and be a regular dude. And I didn't think too much about it after the incident happened. But my high school coach called me. And once my high school coach called me and my mom called me at the same time, I knew there was a problem. I knew I was in big trouble. Um , my mom told me to come home. My coach was sitting on my couch. He said, there's a possibility that you might be expelled from school, just from that act. And I broke down, I was yelling, I was crying. I was screaming. I said, I do not want this responsibility anymore. I do not want to play football anymore. I'm sick of trying to be this perfect guy. Again, 12 years later, I realized that I just wanted to fit in. I didn't want, I didn't want that responsibility, but it was, it was on me. It was on me and I had the D I had to learn and figure out a way to deal with it, you know, and through a lot of ups and downs and mistakes, I think that , uh, things have worked out okay, but my need to put my best foot forward when I was around strangers or fans, I guess you could call them fans at that time. Uh, my need to be who they wanted me to be was overpowering , uh , my emotions. And , uh, it led to a lot more mistakes later on in my life. But I realized that that moment, you know, that my life was going in a , in a different way. The trajectory of my life was headed in a very different direction and I had to be prepared for it.

Collin Kushner:

Why did you continue playing football when you had that moment breaking down in front of your mom and your high school football coach, why did you continue to go

Marcus Lattimore:

High school coach, coach, Bobby Bentley. Uh, who's now the tight end coach at the university of South Carolina gave me a statement and he said, look, the Lord, wouldn't put too much on you. Uh , if you couldn't bear it, you know, at that time that really spoke to me. It basically said to myself that I can handle this. I can handle this responsibility. Another thing he said that it wasn't gonna slow down. Uh, you're only going to receive more attention. You're only going to receive more praise and, and , and more criticism that comes with it. And, you know, there's just the life of somebody in the public spotlight. He was a great role model for me throughout that time, because I did struggle. I struggled , uh , with, with accepting the fact that this was my new life, a life full of attention. I didn't care too much about the attention. I just want to play football with my boy .

Collin Kushner:

It's crazy to think that all you wanted to do, you alluded to earlier was just blend in, be the everyday, the everyday person wake up. You know, if you, if you mess up a little bit, you know, no one cares. I mean, let's face it. We're all teenagers. We all do stupid things at one point in time. Uh, I I've lost track of how many dumb things I did I did as a teenager. And that's the sole reason why my parents have so many wrinkles on, on their faces. It's hard because when you're that young, I mean, you're still developing right. Physically, mentally, and you're relying on parents, football coaches. And in some respect, like these strangers, when at the end of the day, you don't need to listen to them, but, but how else would, you know,

Marcus Lattimore:

It's a dangerous way to live, especially if you don't have the tools and know how to express your emotions, if you don't know how to express your emotions, which most kids don't at that age, it can lead to very destructive habits that you develop. I'm a life coach at Lewis and Clark. Now I see those same patterns developing. My whole job is to inform them and educate them on. You know, what it's like. Uh, if you're unaware, if you're unaware of who you are, if you're unaware of these certain things that pop up , uh , within your life, you , you wouldn't know at that age, you're really learning on the fly. You know, that's one thing that I vowed as an adult not to do , uh , not learn on the fly, learn from other's mistakes. You know, a wise man learns from other's mistakes, a knowledgeable man learns from his mistakes. And that's what I'm shooting for in my life. It's just to, you know, be that voice of reason for guys who are trying to figure out all of these different complex emotions that we deal with and all these different situations in life that bring us just so much despair,

Collin Kushner:

It's hard to navigate life. And I don't think anyone could ever prepare you for that. Uh, you know, unfortunately on my side, there've been some family things that happen . Uh, and I, as a 17, 18 year old, I had no clue what to do. I acted out in some destructive ways that weren't good. And, you know, looking back on it, you know, back then, what else are you supposed to do? You know, but looking back on it as an almost 30 or 30 year old, and my wow, really, like, I couldn't have handled that in a, in a more mature , uh, manner, but when you don't know, you don't know, and you just go with your gut instinct. And I think what you're doing now is more important than what these, what these kids are doing on the football field.

Marcus Lattimore:

I mean, you brought up a good point about, you know, just being at that age. I mean, studies have shown in particular with males, the brain is not developed until you're 25. You couple impulsive with sexual hormones, with attention from people that you don't even know. That's not a good cocktail or not a good recipe for a success and production in life. It's a , it's a recipe for disaster, particularly when you're not educated on what you're doing. Again, like you mentioned, what I'm trying to do right now is to educate those potential pitfalls that come with success that come with playing football , uh, within the sport that involves you getting attention.

Collin Kushner:

The spotlight only got brighter, such a decorated high school athlete. Marcus, you were being recruited by Auburn university of South Carolina. Clemson. The list goes on and on. These are high profile schools, segue back to your playing career. As the spotlight began to grow more and more, why'd you pick South Carolina over, let's say a Clemson, because like you alluded to earlier, those are the two schools you either go to Clemson or you go to South Carolina,

Marcus Lattimore:

You know, that decision boiled down to , uh , comfort. Number one, number two, I knew a lot of the guys that were going to the university of South Carolina. We were friends. I play in a bunch of all-star games together. We played against each other in high school. But number three, again, before I say this, I'm going to say, you don't know what you don't know. Like you said earlier, there's something about success and attention and fame. That's intoxicating . There's something about it . There's a component to it that becomes addicting. And yes, you may not like it in the initial phase, but the things that come with success, fame, and attention, you start to love those things. And because you're in the spotlight, a lot of people don't tell, you know , and because a lot of people don't tell, you know , you see that as a good thing. When in all actuality, if you're aware of yourself, you realize that it's dangerous and it's toxic. I didn't realize that that age South Carolina was an exciting place to go. I saw Stephon Gilmore the year before who committed there , uh , who kind of was a big reason. Why, why, why even consider South Carolina? Cause I saw him have success. People knowing who you are, becomes your new normal, you start to enjoy it. And you think it'll last forever. Another reason why I picked South Carolina was because it was exciting.

Collin Kushner:

I mean, it's, it's, you're , you're in your home state, dude. I mean that that's it, but, but don't you think in some ways that's just making the mask formed your face even more.

Marcus Lattimore:

It's solidified that mask. Um, now you step into a new arena, not with 2000 students in your high school, but 40,000 students on the campus before you even step on campus. The professors and every person in administration knows your name and knows who you are. You play games on ESPN and all of these different networks that are 6 million, 7 million people watching, watching you play the game. Uh , and 80,000 people are cheering for you in the stadium. That creates a bit of an ego. You can say, you're humble. All you want. I thought I knew what being humble was. I knew when and when not to turn it on and turn it off. I knew how to turn on , uh, my manners and my respect. I knew how to turn on my decency, but I also knew when to turn it off in the situations when I could turn it off. And that was when I was with my boys , uh , when we went out and then we'll and we had, and we went to parties. I knew that I could use my celebrity to get certain things. Now I didn't abuse that authority. I've been around a lot of people who have abused that authority and abused their power. You become someone who is addicted to power in a sense, especially when you're unaware. And this is my psychological side coming out because that's all I study. Now, you , you become somebody who, who loves being, although you can downplay it as if you don't, you love being the center of attention now because that's, that's what I was every Saturday , uh, the center of attention. And you don't want that to end Monday through Friday. Uh, but I was able to get a hold of it. I had good people around me. I had friends around me who kept me grounded and a family. And you know, my girlfriend at the time, who's now my wife, she kept me grounded a good bit. Um, because it, it say it's just a lot that you're trying to juggle in that situation.

Collin Kushner:

Don't you think though, Marcus, and it kind of goes back to what we were talking about a few minutes ago that I feel like it wouldn't be normal if you didn't embrace all that comes with being a , one of the most decorated players in the state, you know, because it goes back to at that age, how else would you know, now there there's a degree of abusing the power, but I think that if you went to the other way, I don't know. I, then, then I don't think you get to this point now where you, where you get to look back and reflect and you, and you get to shepherd the next crop of kids.

Marcus Lattimore:

You're you're right. It definitely happened for a reason. I believe things happen for a reason. If you, if you have the courage or you dare to study your life or examine your life , uh , you can learn a lot from your mistakes. You can learn a lot from your failures. Uh , you can learn a lot from, you know, some of the behavior that you've had in the past. Then you can share that with other folks. Uh, so I , I, I do agree with you that the gauntlet of college football, that I went through, celebrity fame, whatever you want to call it, it definitely happened for a reason.

Collin Kushner:

And now, Marcus, I'm going to read off some statistics for you because your freshman year at South Carolina, 1,197, rushing yards, 17 rushing touchdowns in 13 games.

Marcus Lattimore:

I can't take credit for all of that. We had a great offensive line. We had a senior authentic of line , uh, who are, who are also our leaders on the team. Coach Spurrier put me in a lot of good positions to make plays. And, you know, I worked my off to get on the field. Those are team's statistics. Uh , but I also know that I put a lot of work and effort into being able to produce those types of numbers. And it was fun. Uh , did I expect that result? Absolutely not. I was scared to death when I stepped on campus as much confidence as I tried to exude, I was scared to death. I was nervous. I just knew I , I , I needed to work hard. That's all I knew.

Collin Kushner:

I mean, I guess how could you not be you're 18 years old. You have, everyone's looking at you to go in and have instant success, which you did, but Marcus, the next two years at South Carolina, statistically were great, but unfortunately, a string of injuries , uh, you tore your ACL and your left knee, your sophomore year , um, that experience, like what did you learn from an experience like that when you're so successful? Everyone's like Marcus, Marcus, you're in all these national conversations, then you tear your ACL. You're injured. You're out for the year.

Marcus Lattimore:

Now you , you mentioned my freshman year earlier where I, I was a little scared puppy, ready to run, you know, don't get me wrong. I was, I was excited about playing and I was thankful for the opportunity, but I was also nervous now going into my sophomore year, I was confident I was bigger. I was faster. I was stronger. I wanted the Heisman trophy and I knew it was mine. I go into the ninth game of the year and I tear my ACL and my MCL, the first time I've ever sat out for an extended period of time. Uh , first time I ever had a major injury, I didn't know what to do, had no clue. I didn't know how to handle that situation. It was lonely. I was in a very dark place because without football, I lacked identity football gave me that purpose. It gave me that drive. It gave me a reason to wake up in the morning and without it, I didn't know what to do, but it finally set in that this was going to be my reality. And I had to have surgery and rehab. Uh , I attacked it. And you know, what I learned from that experience that I learned, I learned what I was made of. I learned that even though my situation didn't go, how I planned it or how I envisioned it. I had a choice of how I could respond to it, you know, and the choice I made was to attack rehab every single day and take it step by step by step. And , uh, I learned the importance of patience. I learned the importance of a process and that prepared me for my junior season.

Collin Kushner:

During that time, when you're rehabbing, did it give you extra time to discuss and to really dive more into yourself in , in the whole mask facade? Or did you still just kind of push that off a little bit and really just focus on football because they're two different lives. You have your football life and then you have your outside of football life, which you're , you're going in two different directions.

Marcus Lattimore:

I didn't do any self-examination . I didn't, I was, I was still, I was still unaware of my emotions and how they dominated me, or I was focused on football. I was focused on rehab academics. Uh, no in college, those were my two main focuses. I really didn't care about anything else outside of that, sad to say, but it was that mass was still, it was still operating , uh, not on a high level because I was humbled because of the injury. You go through something like that. You , you realize that you're not Superman. You realize that this game can be taken away in an instant football rehabbing. Academics was my main priority. Getting back on the field , uh, was my main priority.

Collin Kushner:

And obviously you did do that your junior year, you get back you off to another fast start. I mean, again, incredible statistics early on, but then in October of 2012 against Tennessee, I remember watching that game and you get tackled. And it just seemed like an everyday tackle from a viewer's perspective. But once they zoomed in on the shot and I saw your face, it was, it was something bad.

Marcus Lattimore:

This is how I know there's an operating force in the universe. The night before that game, I was named team captain and I was asked to say a few words. And the words that I said to my teammates was guys, go out there and play every play. Like it's your last, because it may be your last,

Collin Kushner:

Wow, that's what you said the night before

Marcus Lattimore:

I said that the night before in front of our team, there's a force operating in the universe. Tom stopped in that instant because I couldn't believe it was actually happening again. I knew it was bad simply by how I dropped the ball. There was no thought it was all animalistic impulse. I put my hands straight on my knee to try to put my knee back in place. When I couldn't put my knee back in place. I didn't know what to really think. Uh, my athletic trainers came rushing out. Uh , they got me on the table. They finally got it back in place. Rushed me to the hospital. I knew there was a possibility about how they were talking that it was very bad to not have to go into surgery as soon possible. Tom stops in that moment. I, there was no thinking I didn't hear anything. You know, I looked at my teammates and I saw their faces. I saw the dread in their faces. It was just a grim day. Uh, it was a dreary , uh , the sun. Wasn't out a hard day for a lot of people, particularly my family members. I didn't want them to go through that again. And when I say go through that, I'm talking about the world knows what's going on. They're receiving a hundred texts a day asking how I am. It's overwhelming over , uh , an overwhelming array of emotions that you feel throughout that situation. And , uh, it sucked that day sucked.

Collin Kushner:

Is it hard though? Because there you are. You're on the field and everything stops. It's almost like the crowd noise goes down. It's like blinders on. And it's just you with your thoughts, but you're not even really thinking. And then so many people are hitting you up, but how do you know which of those people like genuinely care about Marcus and those that care about Marcus, the football player,

Marcus Lattimore:

You know, after , uh , you , you know, who really cares about you after something like that, you know, who really who's really in your corner. I knew who my wife was going to be after that situation. Uh, I knew who my true friends were. Uh, I knew who was there just because of my name, go through something hard, go through something tough. Everything will be revealed to you. Uh , it's like a new lease on life. I'm forever grateful to the fans in my mom's garage. Right now there's over 200,000 letters from fans all across America, across the world, but particularly the state of South Carolina. And you know, that support forever , uh , will forever be appreciated.

Collin Kushner:

I get chills hearing that because you have all this success, you have a horrific knee injury, and then it's just nice to see that people forget about you as a football player. They just see this guy, great guy worked. His butt off, gave everything that he could to his team, to his university. Um, I mean that, it's nice to know that people can kind of turn off that, Oh, he's not going to win the Heisman. It's an, it's a trophy. You know, it it's, it's a trophy and , and don't get me wrong. It would be sweet to hoist the Heisman trophy, but at what cost, at what expense

Marcus Lattimore:

Kids are amazing, the , the letters are received from elementary schools where the most thoughtful , uh , they actually thought about what they said. They describe where they were when it happened, whether they were in the stands or at home. They also describe how they felt when it happened. Those kids are probably in high now. Uh, but I still have those letters . They remind me to be more thoughtful. They remind me to be more caring. They remind me to be a more generous person. Uh, so I I'll never forget that that that support that I received was particularly from those kids, from kids all across America.

Collin Kushner:

Doesn't it kind of remind you, in some ways, back to your high school days at burns , when those kids in the stands were wearing their Marcus Latimer Jersey,

Marcus Lattimore:

It's full circle, it comes back full circle. When I was that kid, when you're the person receiving the support, it's what life is all about. I think being there for somebody when they're down , uh, not only when they're up,

Collin Kushner:

When you look at your knees and you see those scars from your playing days, what do they represent from your perspective,

Marcus Lattimore:

Resilience, pain. There's no different for, for resilient people. They just choose to use their pain. They choose to analyze the situation that hurt them and use it for good. And really that's what I've been trying to do. Ever since those two injuries happen, life is full of suffering. Whether it be death in the family, an injury, you fail a test, your girlfriend breaks up with you, whatever the case may be. You're , you're, you're going to go through tough times. That's just the way of the world. We have the ability to reason with other people. So we feel other people's pain, but you can choose how to respond. You know, when you're down and what I've noticed, the people throughout history, who we admire the most Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, all of the people that fought for human rights throughout history, they all went through a lot of pain. They all went through a lot of suffering. They all hit obstacles along the way, but we admire those people. We respect those people. We're thankful and grateful for those types of individuals. You know, that's how I try to model my life. If you develop resiliency, you can accomplish whatever you want to accomplish and make something good out of the suffering that you went through. It's a powerful thing. The easy thing to do is just use that as an excuse. The easy thing to do is just lay down and , and, you know, stay in the shell , which is going to lead to more suffering , uh , because you haven't addressed , uh, how that situation hurts . You I've received more satisfaction in life talking to a 14 year old female. Who's torn her ACL three times than any touchdown that I've ever scored in Williams Brock stadium. I've received more satisfaction in life, sitting down with an athlete who has broken his ankle, telling him, you know, the keep pushing and keep going, because you're going to learn so much about yourself through this. Then any accomplishment or war I was inducted into the hall of fame for South Carolina. Yeah, that was great. But helping people get through tough times is a lot more gratifying. It's a lot more satisfying than any of that.

Collin Kushner:

What you just said is extremely powerful. And that's the message I want people to understand is that it's much, much bigger. Football is football is a part of you, but it doesn't define you. It's not you. And I think that's really freaking cool that having those experiences and helping people through tough times is more, is holds more weight to you and your life. Because at the end of the day, and I said this in a previous podcast, people are not going to remember your bank account. Maybe they'll remember your accolades accolades. Maybe they won't. But what they'll really remember is being there for someone in a time of need and not leaving their side, that's it

Marcus Lattimore:

In life and society of the times that we're living in, we need a lot more empathy and compassion. One thing that I've learned is that man, the greatest gift that you can give somebody is your attention. The greatest gift you can give somebody is your ear. And because of that, I've been able to cultivate so many relationships , uh , with the young men , with young women , uh, I've improved my relationship with my wife , uh , with my mom. Uh , just because I've learned the skill of empathy. I've learned the skill of compassion because that's what I received when I was going through , uh, some of the most challenging times in my life where I received that it was reciprocated. You know, life's too short. Life is too fleeting to look at it. Only through our view, put yourself in somebody else's shoes and help them and watch how fulfilled you become.

Collin Kushner:

That's what life is all about, helping other people and making others feel good. It's it's that simple. It's it's, it's, isn't it kind of weird though, because it's simple when you, when, when we say it aloud, but it's hard to do because maybe you are a top notch football player and you have the spotlight on you. And everyone's saying yes to everything that you want. And that small thing just kind of gets lost. Yeah .

Marcus Lattimore:

It can completely get lost and you can, and you can believe that you're more important than you actually are. We're all star dust. We all live on this planet together. There are no squiggly lines that separate California from Nevada. When you look at earth from space, we're all interconnected in some way. And if we start to realize that as humans, this nation will heal, everything will run a lot smoother. We all want the same things. You know, you , you , you look at any group, any organization, you look at a game, look at the gangs in Los Angeles right now, what are they looking for? They're looking for love. They're looking for acceptance. They're looking for somebody to listen. They're looking for a place where they can belong. And when we don't have those things, we're going to search for them, whether it be through violence, whether it be through drugs , uh , whether it be however the case may be. We're all looking for the same things. I guess my journey is kind of, kind of showed me that a little bit

Collin Kushner:

Without the injuries. Do you think you would be where you are now having this perspective on life, or do you think those two instances your sophomore year and the devastating one, your junior year really helped reshape you?

Marcus Lattimore:

I'm thankful for my knee injuries. I'm thankful. And I'm grateful. Why? Because I became more self-aware , uh, I, I didn't have a , I didn't have an option, but to look in the mirror when football ends, I had to redirect my whole life and find and find a new skill, a new interests , a new Y I had to find a new Y you know, going through that, it's kind of showed me that you will hit a wall in your life. Obstacles will come, whether you like it or not adversity, then stop after those two knee injuries. Life doesn't stop. After those two niches, you're going to hit more wall. If you look at those walls, you grow. If you decide to look at what hurts you, you will grow. If you sat to use what hurts you, you will grow. And I've grown so much because that happened in my life. I don't think I'd be in, I don't think I'd be as self aware as I am today. If I didn't go through those two knee injuries,

Collin Kushner:

Do you think in some ways, and I hate that it happened the way that it did, right? Because you know , you never want to see that the look that you had on your face that day, like, I , I mean, you could see it, but do you think in some ways it was the universe sending you a message in some really messed up way to head, dude, it's time to look at yourself in the mirror and it's time to start peeling off that mask to get to where you are now,

Marcus Lattimore:

Collin, and I, a hundred percent agree with that simply because of , of when it happened and how it happened, because I was heading in a direction where I was going, where my life was going. It was going towards the NFL and the NFL. That means you're making a lot more money. And when you have a lot more money and people, and you still haven't realized the danger of people telling you, no, and you still haven't come to the realization that attention and fame is all superficial when you haven't come to that realization yet. And you mix that with money. I think we've all seen the stories of what happens. You know, 80% of NFL players go broke two years after they retire. Not because they're not intelligent. You have to be very smart to learn a playbook, this thick it's because they're living life aimlessly. And when you live life aimlessly, you're just searching. You're searching for the satisfaction. So my mindset at that time at that age was if I have money, I'll be happy. If I have success, I'll be happy if I'll have fame. That gives me happiness. And I thought the NFL was the last step. What I learned through those injuries that, I mean, it's all an illusion. Happiness is a by-product of you living with virtues and doing what you love. Yeah . I mean, it's, it's, it's really simple as that. I mean, it's, it has nothing to do with the superficial reality of life and the things that society values, society may value having a nice car, nice clothes, nice blaze . And all of that is fine. I'm all for that. You know, because I have that, but it's, it's not what makes you who you are, or it doesn't make you better than somebody. And, you know, it's a, it's a messed up distorted view of life to have. And that only leaves the bad things. When you look at life through that,

Collin Kushner:

I've always wondered how that lens even came into fruition, right. Because it's not like, it's like, how did that happen? How did that become what people look through? And I've always, I've tried to understand that for so many years, and unfortunately I've still come up empty, but, and I don't think I ever will. And I don't know if anybody ever will, but you really think about to , to when we, when human beings came to be, how did that somehow pop into the equation?

Marcus Lattimore:

That's such a , uh , important question that that needs to be addressed because it shapes the minds. It shapes the minds and it colors our perception of how we look at life and that, and it's a dangerous way to look at life. Part of the reason is because , uh , what will Tang said, cash rules , everything around me, cream. I mean that , and that is , uh , unfortunately that's, that's the world that we live in, where money is King and status and acceptance and all of these things that really don't matter. At the end of the day, it makes us who we are. Again, it only leads to disappointment later on in life. And you just continue to serve ,

Collin Kushner:

Which you did end up getting drafted. I don't want to , I don't want to leave out the fact that you did make it to the NFL. You did get drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in the 2013 NFL draft after everything you had been through at South Carolina. And I guess just starting from your childhood all the way up, what was that moment like for you, even though your perspective was changing the NFL dude, like 99% of people that never happens

Marcus Lattimore:

Well, just because I, I went through those injuries doesn't mean I lost the game, lost the love of the game of football. I will always, and forever love the game of football and any opportunity to play it, where I felt like I could make a difference. I was going to take that opportunity. And I knew after that last injury, my window was dwindling. My window was closing real quick. You know, nobody wants to run running back with two knee injuries. So I had to get back. I had to rehab, I was able to put, put together a performance on pro day , uh , where I showed my foot work. I showed my part , my progress , uh, and that was about four and a half months after the injury. I was able to do a little bit and that, and that was enough. Uh, and you know, through the interviews of, you know, meeting with different teams and also meeting with coach Harbaugh, I think he saw that, you know , I was serious and he saw my character and her heart that I'd been working and they took a chance and they gave me an opportunity. And now , um , again, another life changing experience going out to San Francisco , uh, learning from Frank Gore , uh , my running back coach at the time was Tom Rathman who played in two super bowls, gathering all this knowledge , uh, and being in the NFL locker room, an absolute dream come true dream come true.

Collin Kushner:

Did it matter at that point, the round or anything because prior to the injury, I know you were being talked about as a first round pick. Did it even matter at that point anymore? Or was it just like, Hey, I , I want to get a chance in the NFL.

Marcus Lattimore:

I didn't care. I didn't care where I went. I heard from even after the injury, I heard from first round to undrafted. So my agent literally had no clue. He was talking with a bunch of teams that were very interested . He was talking with a few teams that wouldn't even sniff at the possibility of drafting me. The San Francisco 49ers took a, took a chance on me. And , uh, I still have a relationship with that front office today. They call on me whenever they're at South Carolina. Uh, and , and they're looking for guys, especially when I was working there, we talked about Deebo Samuel a lot with their head Scouts, you know, so that relationship still exists today. Although I didn't get an opportunity to play. I learned a lot. I learned a lot about being a professional. I learned a lot about the NFL, which is also gonna help me in the job that I currently serve. Now,

Collin Kushner:

Why did you retire before playing in an NFL?

Marcus Lattimore:

I wasn't at the level that I wanted to be at. I was pushing through a knee that wasn't made for the game of football anymore. The trauma that my right knee has been through, I didn't want to put it through any more trauma. And, you know, I looked at my life and I said, I'm going to be 31 day. I'm going to be 35 one day. And I still love to be active. Do I want to risk not having the opportunity to run around with my kids or do I want to make a little bit more money and play this game that I love? It really came down to that decision. I had to be farsighted and say, look, I want to have kids one day. I want to be able to run with them, play with them. I think that's a little bit more important.

Collin Kushner:

It's amazing that you had that foresight because in the moment you get drafted at such an exciting time and you're , you know, you're just itching to get into a game, but to take a step back in some ways, I look at this as like a huge step in the process of where you are now. And , and this is just from my perspective where you took a step back, you evaluated yourself, you evaluated you and made that decision. It wasn't somebody else saying something else.

Marcus Lattimore:

And you know what? It was a hard decision. It was not an easy decision. After talking with a few people, it became clear decision. I needed to make walking away from the game I love , uh , hanging those cleats up was not easy, but you know, most decisions in life that are that big, you know, whether you're deciding on a job or you know what to do next, the transition, what to do, they're never easy decisions, but you go with it, you stick with it and you do the best. You can. You try to find that next step. And that's what I've, that's what I've done. I I've remained steadfast and I've remained committed , uh, to , to try and to find that next act in life. And I've, I think I found it

Collin Kushner:

To get to that point, because like you said, it's hard to walk away from a game that you love so much. It's, it's, it's a part of your core and always will be the transition period. What was that like? How did you navigate that? You're in the Bay area, you walk away and then it's like this giant millions of different roads. Like, I'm just like curious from your perspective, from a psychological perspective, how do you know which road to pick?

Marcus Lattimore:

Well, at that time I did what came natural. Uh, what came natural was to go back to school and finish my degree. I knew that would be important in my future. So I went back to the university of South Carolina, enrolled back in school, received my degree in may of 2016 , uh, in public health. Again, I still didn't have a clear picture of what I wanted. Uh, but I knew what made me happy. Uh, I knew what gave me fulfillment and that was helping young people. I didn't know what Avenue I wanted to go down to. I wasn't for sure if it was coaching, I tried coaching the first year and it was fun. It was amazing, but I didn't think that was something I wanted to do. Full-time I started to learn a lot more about myself again, you know, just diving in human nature. And I realized that there's a lot of people walking around who lacked that self-awareness and I realized how important that was in athletics to have , uh, in athletics when you have that, self-awareness that transition after your sport ends is not so challenging. If you do, you know, took a stab at director of player development and coach Muschamp . I'm so thankful. He gave me that opportunity to work with , uh, the university of South Carolina. And I learned, and I learned, and I grew, and I helped a lot of kids. Now I'm here at Lewis and Clark working as a life coach as a mentor, I assist with the running backs, but I'm not the full-time position coach. I realize how important my job is, being someone who has to find creative ways to motivate , uh, to, to keep the group engaged , uh, but also to provide them with life skills and social skills that are gonna help them later on in life that I did not have quite frankly, sometimes a counselor , uh , because I am learning those skills and thinking about enrolling into their psychology program to, to receive my master's , my journey revealed to me some things that would help student athletes navigate through the challenges that life presents them. And I try to do that with transparency. I tried to do that with the psychology practices that I've learned. I try to do that through humility. So they understand that, you know, what I'm saying is, is pertinent to your future. Uh, it's important for your future. I'm fulfilled. Uh, I enjoy what I do. I want to continue to do this and grow in this role. And I know that, you know, eventually I want to end up in a leadership position where I'm moving the chess pieces and , and I'm looking at what's best for student athletes can not create an environment that is conducive to growth, where they are comfortable. When student athletes are comfortable in an environment where they feel they're not being judged , uh, when they're in an environment where they feel that they can come to you , uh, you can pour into them easily and they, and they will listen to you.

Collin Kushner:

I feel like it all ties back to the mask stuff we were talking about earlier, where when they speak with you, they don't have to, they don't have to wear a mask because you're coming at them from that, with that perspective, I should say, of wearing a mask and what it does. And you just say, Hey, like, let's, let's talk about life. And if you want to talk about football, we can talk about football. Um, and I'm sure that's something that they've never seen before, because who does that?

Marcus Lattimore:

Collin that's , that's the goal of what I'm trying to do. Uh it's to it's to break down those, exterior's take those facades off, take the front off and speak to them. Number one, as human beings , uh, speak to them with transparency , uh, but also realize that they have somebody that will always listen and not judge them. You know, when that happens, you, you, you come, you don't move away from who you are. You come closer to that core of who you are and w which is going to help you find out what you like and what you don't like, what you're interested in. And, you know, that's the goal to try to get them to become the best version of themselves, putting them in a growth mindset, creating an environment where it's comfortable, where they know they're always going to have somebody that listens. I'm going back to what we talked about earlier. I'm thankful for what I went through, because now I have real life experience, real, tangible experience that they can look at it and see, huh, okay. If coach lack went through this, I can figure out a way to navigate through this, but we do it together. Student athletes need this more than ever, especially this generation in particular, they're just bombarded. And they're saturated by so much information online, especially through social media, kind of changed their brain a little bit, trying to be that voice of reason for them.

Collin Kushner:

I don't know if you realize this, that you're changing the way that people are approaching sports in life. You're essentially from my perspective, creating your own niche, where you're going in, teaming up with these student athletes and talking about things that parents won't even talk about with their own kids

Marcus Lattimore:

And Collin. I believe that with this generation, it's a necessity. It's not something that can, can be up for negotiation. You , you, you, you have to have someone who has social and emotional intelligence within your program. If you want to get the best out of this generation , old-school style. Coaching is not going to work with them anymore. All right ? Their attention span has been depleted and it's not their fault. It's just the times that we live in, they live in a different way than , than you and I did, you know, to get to them, you must be able to relate to them. If you cannot relate to them, it goes one ear and out the other it's been fun. It's been a fun challenge to find ways to motivate them, because it's not easy. Doesn't matter what your name is. Yes. They knew who I was when I came on campus, but that does not mean anything. They don't care how much, you know, until they know how much you care.

Collin Kushner:

Would you say that you're living your truth now, Marcus?

Marcus Lattimore:

Um, I think that's a great way to put it. I really do. Uh , living, living with, I feel convicted in , um, living. What I know is vital and growth. Um, being myself, yes, that's absolute. That's the greatest way to put it. I'm living in my truth.

Collin Kushner:

When I was doing some research for our conversation, these are the words that I wrote down. Curiosity, faith, spirituality, growth mindset. Those are the words that I felt seemed to describe you in ways that many people, I feel like we'll never have any of that. Marcus.

Marcus Lattimore:

I don't think you could have described it any better. My love for learning my walk, my faith, and believing that if you do good and you remain committed to it and you remain consistent, things just tend to work out. It's believing that virtue is enough. I don't strive for things in my life anymore. I don't strive for success. I don't strive for fame or celebrity. I don't strive to be this person. I just tried to be the best version of myself that I can be every day. And the only way I feel like you can do that is if you continue to learn, stay curious , uh , continue to find new ways to grow. If you put your faith in something bigger than yourself, if you serve another people, money comes. Things just work out. Uh , life works out for you. Uh, but you, but you can't fool yourself. You know, you have to, you have to self-analyze and self-check every day, because if you don't, you might miss something , uh , look in the mirror every day and say, what can I do? And also be compassionate with yourself. Uh don't don't beat yourself up when you make a mistake , uh , be human and just continue to go. Can just continue to wake up with the right, the right attitude .

Collin Kushner:

It's so hard because for me, when I look at myself in the mirror, when people have asked me, have you ever been beaten up before? I said, yeah, I've beaten myself up thousands of times over the course of my life. And like you said, not only do you have to be compassionate with other people, but yourself, if you're not compassionate with yourself, I mean, it's almost like, how could you be compassionate with other people? How can you do all these other great things that you want to do? If you can't even just look at yourself and love yourself to a degree. And I don't mean that in a, I mean that in, in , in, in the best way possible, if that makes,

Marcus Lattimore:

Oh, absolutely. And I completely agree with you, you know, there's, there's a big difference between self-criticism and self-compassion only one of those leads to you, developing confidence. If you want to be a confident person, every time you drop a ball or you fumble the ball, you cuss yourself out, or you , uh, you throw an interception and you just cussing yourself out. Well, now you're gonna ruminate on that thought. You're going to ruminate on that thought over and over and over again, you're going to replay how terrible of a person you are. Just because you made a mistake or you failed that doesn't define who you are. But if you talk to yourself with more gentle words, or you look at yourself as a human you'll realize that you'll laugh. Those things off, not necessarily laughing it when you make a mistake or you fail, but you'll laugh at the fact that man, I can't believe I used to talk to myself like that. You're beating yourself up. Now, you got your coach beating yourself up , beating you up. I mean, that's you , you're not gonna win that fight, but , but you, you develop confidence when you talk to yourself in a way that is soothing. Talk to yourself in a way that is , uh , more productive. It's a big difference in those two. And the first initial reaction for us as humans is to beat ourselves up because we put a lot of expectations on ourselves. I still do it to this day, but I'm learning that, that doesn't develop confidence. You have to talk to yourself in a way as if you like yourself.

Collin Kushner:

And that's something I struggle with all the time. And it's so weird how you can help other people. But then when it comes to yourself, you know, if a friend asks me for help with something, I'll help them. I'll do what I can. But then when it comes to something internal with myself, all of a sudden it's become this, trying to climb Mount Everest or deal . And you think about your , that . You're like, what's the difference? It's take those same Pratt . Take the same practices of kindness and gentleness and just be so that upon yourself,

Marcus Lattimore:

You bring up a beautiful point. It's looking at yourself, objectively looking at yourself for what you are not looking at yourself through the lens, through a subjective lens. And when I say objectively like this is, you are not that interception. You are not that fumble. You are not that mistake. You're a human that made a mistake. You're a human that is having an issue. You are a human, that's having a challenge. That's you , you're not by that challenge. When you look at yourself for what it like, just straight up objectively, you realize that exactly what you just said. You give yourself the advice you would give your best friend.

Collin Kushner:

That's all you have to do. I mean, this , the stuff we've talked about it, it's, it's simple when we verbalize it to one another, right? We say it. And we're like, yes. And then you get put in that. You get put in that trying moment. And then all of a sudden it's like, wait a second. I it's like, you totally lose yourself and you forget what to do. And that's why I love what you're doing so much, Marcus, why ? Like you're impacting these kids. These kids will never forget it. And you want to know what? Then they're going to pass that on the impact you're going to have is going to last generations. And I think that's something you should feel great about, dude. I mean, I don't know what else you could ask for.

Marcus Lattimore:

Thank you, Collin. I appreciate you saying that. I saw a quote that applies to what you just said. It's about a coach and the impact that he will have in 10 years versus somebody that goes through their whole life. And you know what, that's, that's the beautiful thing about coach and teaching. Uh, any, any profession where you're allowed to be in front of young people, you have a lot of power in that situation. How you choose to use that power is, is up to you. I've just chose to use it in a way. I mean, it's just like Lauren Hill or J Cole , or, you know, just like through their music, how they teach people. I mean, it's just, it's inspiring to think about, you know, I , I look at people who do it and I'm like, man, I want to be that. I want to do what they do, but they just do it through music or whatever Avenue that you're doing it through . You're doing that the same thing with your podcasts . I mean, it's, it's, it's not the mainstream media. It's not what people would , uh , would expect, but it's what people need, what people need to hear, not what they want to hear.

Collin Kushner:

And that's exactly it. I want people to know that. Yes, like you're , you were a fantastic football player. I mean that, but , but there's so much more, and that's what I want people to know. And that's what people are going to understand from this is the depth of who you are, Marcus. Like I got chills midway through this conversation because you're diving into, you know, when you brought up the mask and people wearing masks, we we've all done it. Whether we were an athlete or not, we've all done it. And , and some of us never take that mask off. And that's the scary part, because imagine if you do take it off and yeah, like it may feel uncomfortable. And, but to, to feel comfortable and fulfilled, you have to feel discomfort.

Marcus Lattimore:

You , you, you, you you're so right. You're so right. And you know, one of my favorite writers of all time, this quote is ingrained in my head and I'll never forget it. And it always reminds me that what I'm doing is, is necessary. And that's important. It's about James Baldwin. He says the unexamined life is not worth living. And I to know that self-delusion because when you don't examine your life, you don't live in reality. You look , you , you, you, you live in what you want the world to be. You know, we're only confined by the walls we build ourselves. And those walls are just mental walls. They're , they're , it's a mental prison. It says school for the world. It's not a school for living. Uh, if we continue to examine our lives and w w we come closer to everything and I'm not there yet, it's a, it's a continuous, you , you , you examine your life until death. It's not something that just, Oh, I've arrived. No, it's it's, I mean, it , you , you know, unless you're a monk, you know, enlightened souls and liberated souls, they've examined their selves to a T .

Collin Kushner:

I feel like it's fear-based because if you do examine yourself, then it's , it's, it's scary. I mean, you're doing it. I'm , I'm doing it myself. And it , it is daunting the , in the moment that I knew that I needed to start examining myself from an outsider's perspective was probably the scariest thing I've ever done in my life.

Marcus Lattimore:

And , and, and, and that fear, that fear is what you're exactly right. This is what , what stops us. And , and that's why man, you know, Brenae Brown. Uh, she writes about, she's an expert on shame. Uh, she studied emotions. She's an expert on , uh , guilt. Uh , that's what she talks about. Uh , she says having the courage to be imperfect is the first step. And finding yourself courage is knowing that fear is right there, but still doing it anyway. And that , and that courage to be an imperfect creature is what sets you out on that quest. It's just realizing that, yeah, you know, these people who may portray a certain image, but nobody is exempt from human nature. Everybody feels suffering. Everybody feels joy. Everybody feels pain. Every everybody's been angry, mad, upset. We just cover it up a little bit differently.

Collin Kushner:

You hit so many fantastic points throughout this entire podcast, but it , especially right now, I want to , I want people to know about your writing Marcus , and I hope you don't mind. I want to read this. It's titled ABC. There is no end point or enchanted destination. There is no finish line where you run through and celebration. Just a lot of roadblocks and a lot of detours. And when you get through those, you receive a reward because it'll just be more and some more after that, the best thing to do surrender to this fact, we're not in control and never will be because nothing in life is ABC, but who would want it to be, had it come easy to have everything perfect. Simply as one, two , three life without a rebuttal. Yeah. You can keep that fall in love with the struggle and the struggle will love you back.

Marcus Lattimore:

Yeah. Thank you. Um, sometimes in life we expect , um, we expect things to go. Ideally, we want life to end up a certain way. If I work hard and , uh , do what I'm supposed to, I'm going to have a career in the NFL. You know, I , there were so many things I wanted, you know , out of that experience, I want to, you know, rest for 10,000 yards, that was a goal of mine. I wanted to be in the hall of fame. I wanted, you know, six touchdowns. My first year, none of that happened. Life goes on. Life goes on. Regardless whether you like your situation or not, you can't control it. Number one. And number two, nothing in life is ideal. If you're waiting on ideal conditions, you'll be waiting forever. Humans for millions of years have had the capability to adapt. We've had the capability to respond when things don't go our way, but we conveniently forget that we're creatures that can adapt to anything we're creatures that can respond to anything. And we can make the most out of our situation. I always think about , uh, Viktor Frankl, who wrote a book called a man's search for meaning. He talks about being in concentration camps in Auschwitz, in Poland, and what it was like. And he describes this man who, you know , walked into the gas chamber and prayed and said, you will not take my dignity , uh, in a situation like that. He didn't have an excuse. He couldn't control his situation. Even a man who knows he's about to die, can die with dignity. That just spread that, that just proves to me that anybody can do it . He knows he's about to walk into a gas chamber. He knows his life's about the end, but he sends a prayer to the Lord and it says, no, they will not take my dignity. That seals the deal for me. You know, you look at Rwanda and the Rwandan genocide people knew, you know, that they were about to be cut or butchered or machete, you know, by the other tribe, you know, and , and they're in , they're calling out, you know, Oh Lord. I mean, it's just, if they can adapt and they can respond, we all have the capability to do it. Thank you for sharing that. Thank you for reading that. I mean,

Collin Kushner:

It's , it's amazing because as I'm reading that, and obviously from our conversation now, and from what we chatted about in the pre-call and everything, it's like, I , you can kind of feel the certain points of your life, you know, with what you're writing. Uh , but you do it in such a poetic way that it just , it just makes , it just makes sense. There are so many different things that you've written on that page. And, and I think those are things that really resonate, especially with the kids that you helped. The last thing I want to ask you, if you could go back in time and chat with 19 year old Marcus Lattimore what would you tell him? Uh , how good the food is in Portland? Right.

Marcus Lattimore:

You know what I would tell him seriously? Uh, I wouldn't tell them anything. I just, I put on a song for him . Uh, Bob Marley, don't worry about a thing. Great song. I just, I , I just put that on. I put that song on and, and have it on repeat.

Collin Kushner:

It's like, just thinking about the song. Once you said, once you said it, I started playing it in my head and it just instantaneously brings a smile.

Marcus Lattimore:

Yeah. And because, you know, at that time, so many things are going on. So many things were going on in my life. So many unknowns, so much pressure life was just moving so fast. Uh , but if you could just, don't worry, stop worrying. Cause you're not in control anywhere . You're not in control of what, if anything happened . You just have to do your best every day. It was so much external pressure that dominated my faults and dominated my mind that if I would have heard that song, I don't know. I don't, I don't know. It might've been different.

Collin Kushner:

Well, you, a student of the world and to be a student of the world , it means doing what you're doing right now. You and the wife and the poodle leaving the comforts of South Carolina, moving to the Pacific Northwest Portland, which by the way, I'm stoked to have the three of you on the West coast as a West coast guy. Welcome. Um, it's just , it's been amazing to speak with you. And I'm really excited for people to, to listen to your messages because I don't care if you're an athlete, a business, a businessman, business, woman, whatever you do, all this is applicable in so many different ways. So thank you for taking the time to speak with me and, and enlightened me and to open up my mind,

Marcus Lattimore:

Appreciate you calling. I really do.

Collin Kushner:

Wow. What an incredible story Marcus has perspective on life is truly amazing. And I really hope you'll be able to channel his wisdom and apply it to your own lives. I've thoroughly enjoyed having the opportunity to chat with them. Make sure to follow me for more incredible stories with former athletes. That's Hayward . You go on Apple podcasts and Spotify, plus Colin Cushner on YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

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