The Chapter is Complete

Dear Team Ryan,

This is the season of transformation. This is the season of change. And this is the season of gratitude.

I mean, every day is the season of gratitude, but especially now so.

My time as a resident of Alabama is coming to a close. While I look back at this time in my life with fondness, wistfulness, and love – this is the time I have been looking forward to for the better part of 16 years.

I became very present to something recently. My life has never been of my own choosing. I have been at the effect of my circumstances for way too long. The least of which has been the fact that I’m that I feel like I’m running out the clock on a life that isn’t worthy of me.

I’m almost 40 years old. I have two careers that I adore. I have developed relationships with people deeper than I have ever before. And I’m grateful for them all.

But there are so many possibilities of my move. The possibility of connecting with my coaching community and the vibrant New York area literary community. The possibility of culture a mere subway ride away. More possibility of finding that once in a lifetime love. And the possibility of fatherhood.

I’m looking to set up the next 40 years of my life with power, purpose, and love. To do that, one must step outside of their comfort zone.

That’s what I’m doing with this move. I’m stepping outside of my comfort zone for the first time in my life.

Don’t get me wrong, I am terrified. I’m terrified that I’m going to get up there and fail harder than anyone has failed before. I’m terrified that I’m going to be constantly homesick. And I’m terrified that I’m going to make the biggest mistake of my life.

But I refuse to be that guy in the nursing home talking about “I could’ve been great.”

My chapter as an Alabamian is coming to a close. But the story never ends.

Until the ballad of Ryan Hall is complete, I will always see Alabama fondly:

  • 4/27 will always be a sacred day to me.
  • The heartbreak of the losses in my life will always be with me.
  • The pride of seeing my dad on TV promoting something with Tony’s.
  • This will always be where I fell in love with language.
  • This will always be where – thanks to my mom – I fell in love with serving my fellow human beings.
  • And the first five notes of the greatest fight song in college sports will always take me back to the corner of Bryant Drive and Wallace Wade Boulevard. It doesn’t matter where I lay my head.

And many, many more.

My mom used to call me a late bloomer. And I used to hate it every time she did so.

But I believe it wholeheartedly now. I believe that the sapling that was planted here will grow to a redwood in the Big Apple.

Make no mistake about it, while my body may no longer be in Alabama, my heart will remain. And you know what they say about homes and hearts, right?

To my friends and family:

This is not an ending, but a new beginning. I am not disappearing, but growing. I need your love and support now more than ever. I love and cherish each and every one of you and I pray that things blossom and develop to a level never before seen. I wish nothing but love, success, and growth for every one of you.

In closing, I know I say this in a Crimson and White context. But I mean it from the very depths of my soul. I am Bama Born. I am Bama Bred. And when the Good Lord calls me home, when I die, I’ll be Bama Dead.

With love, gratitude, and pride,

Ryan

PS. Y’all will always be in my vocabulary!

PPS. I’m bringing some Southern Charm to the Big Apple and I cannot wait!

PPPS. I’m still scared, though.