John Travis Kelley is an athlete. From the time he was 5, nothing else really mattered to him. Baseball, lacrosse, basketball and his true love, football. In high school he captained his football and lacrosse teams and was recruited by St. Lawrence University to play football in college.
But like many kids today his life took a bad turn. He was drinking heavily and abusing drugs. Hard drugs. Drugs that would scare any parent. It was a two-year binge. Celebrating when he was happy, ‘catching a buzz’ when he was down. In April of 2013 he took the first step to his recovery. He asked for help.
After two, 28-day rehab stints, John went to Foundation House in Portland, Maine, an extended care drug and alcohol treatment center. They call it the ‘Foxhole’. From the talented counselors to the program alumni, Foundation House provides a strong support network. It’s a place where you look out for one another and where sports play a big role.
Each Spring there’s a softball league that plays it’s last weekend and championship at Haddock Field, home of the Portland Sea Dogs, the Boston Red Sox Double A farm team. Every Winter there’s an ice hockey league and in the Fall, there’s flag football. All designed to bring the boys back to what many of them had learned from sports. Camaraderie, discipline and fight. Leaning on each other, on the field and off.
There’s a reason that the ‘Foxhole’ believes in the value of sport. We learn about heart, our determination and ourselves. But most of all it gives us optimism, knowing that tomorrow’s promise depends on today’s hard work.
Sports can give us so much.
For 2 years and 9 months John has been sober. He’s stayed close to the Foundation House family. He’s finishing up his college education, has lined up a great summer internship and is in a relationship with a wonderful young woman. Working out daily, John’s in the best shape of his life. He lifts, runs and plays golf.
John Travis Kelley is an athlete. Again.