A Message from Marc
"Thank you Havre and the Hi-Line for your awesome support and amazing kindness as I have been pursuing my football dream! There aren't enough words to tell you how much this means to me and how it touches the hearts of my entire family. I am truly blessed and grateful for the special people in my life including all of you that have supported me along the way. I hope I continue to make you proud."
Marc Mariani #83
There are plenty of lessons a young student-athlete can learn from former Havre Blue Pony Marc Mariani's amazing journey to the National Football League.
As a matter of fact, there are plenty of lessons we all can learn from it.
But after watching Mariani do what he's done the last half decade, the one that easily stands out to me is that no one should give up on their dreams.
As I stood on the sidelines at last Friday night's Havre High football game at Blue Pony Stadium, as much as Mariani never ceases to amaze me, it occurred to me that it was only in 2004 that he was still playing high school football under the lights in Havre.
Thinks about that. Six years ago, Mariani was playing for the Havre Blue Ponies. Six years is not that long, and now he's about to play his second NFL regular season game when the Tennessee Titans host the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday at 11 a.m. in Nashville.
If it wasn't obvious back then, when Mariani and so many of his good friends were making Havre High history by winning the 2004 Class A state championship, it's very obvious now that Mariani never gave up on his dream.
He wanted to take football as far as he could.
At one time, it was known that he wanted to play for the Montana Grizzlies even when so many people told him he would be better off playing elsewhere.
He followed his dream then, and now he's the greatest wide receiver to every wear a Montana uniform, and that's saying something considering UM has been one of the most prolific passing teams in college football history.
And Mariani did all that while playing in Montana's least prolific passing offense since the Grizzlies started having national success in the early 1990's. Imagine what he could have done if he played under Don Read.
And as everyone now knows, and will see when Mariani is returning kicks against the Steelers on Sunday, he never let go of the dream, even after achieving so much success at the highest level of football inside the state of Montana.
Sure, Mariani was drafted by the Titans, but he went to training camp knowing the odds were stacked against him to make the 53-man roster as a rookie.
But again, he kept after it, kept following his dream, kept going after what he wanted.
And now he's a member of football elite. He's playing the game at its highest level, and very few athletes in the world are doing what he's doing every Sunday.
Mariani has said time and time again through this experience about how much hard work and dedication it's taken to achieve his biggest dreams. And that's another lesson to take away from his story for sure.
But in life, like football, having a passion, having a goal and going after that goal, going after that dream is what makes life so special. It's one of the many things that make us feel alive each and every day.
Mariani has went after all of his dreams full throttle and he never gave up on what he wanted out of life.
For all of the young athletes, aspiring scholars, and for even for those of us who have already lived a good chunk of life, the lesson Mariani's story can teach us may be simple, and we've all heard it over and over, but it's invaluable and even more so, his story is inspiring to us all.