By Nikolai Jackson
Images: Derrick Furlow, Jr.
Former collegiate athlete Derrick Furlow Jr realized early in his life that football was the path he wanted to embark on. However, he soon realized that going to the NFL wasn't where his career was heading. He witnessed first-hand how athletes were struggling with life after their sports career was over. He became determined to make a change, so he decided to write two books to start the change that he hopes athletes need to avoid going down a path of uncertainty.
Originally from Atlanta, Furlow Jr wanted a better life for himself and his family. He realized that football could be the vehicle that could change his life in a positive way. Getting accepted into the University of Tennessee, he played four years at defensive back. While at the University of Tennessee, he managed to get a bachelor’s in legal studies and then getting his master’s degree in Sports Psychology. While playing football, he realized there was a problem with athletes struggling with the transition of life after sports came to an end. He set out to make a change by writing two books titled "Sports Life Business: What's Next? How to Transition Like A Champion" and soon to be released "The Transition Playbook."
The book that Furlow Jr is currently in the process of releasing is the handbook that athletes who are struggling with the transition from sports to everyday life have been looking for. It comes from an athlete who went through it and has experience that others who write books to help athletes might not fully understand because it's not tailored to them. Even though this book is written for athletes, Furlow Jr says that this book has tips and information that the non-athlete can take and use them to figure out what they want to do next in life. Whether it's becoming an entrepreneur, helping someone else with a business of their own, or just writing down what makes you happy and starting from there, it's about figuring out what's next.
"I wanted to put something in place so now moving forward, athletes have a book they can read, a class they could take, or a course they could go to that will actually help them transition into life after sports because prior to the book and the curriculum, there was no book they could read, class they could go to or a course they could take. It was only 'figure it out on your own' and most of them struggled trying to figure it out on their own."
Furlow Jr has created the curriculum because he saw a problem that wasn't being addressed. He wanted to rectify that to make athletes thrive after their careers are over. Starting a business is a great option, but he says finding something that makes you happy is just one of the keys to starting a business. Seeing a problem and then trying to fix it is very important in starting a business. Another key is having the passion.
"If you're going to start a business, have a passion for it because, at some point in time, the business is going to get hard and you're not going to care to do it. So, unless you have a passion for it, just like you played the game when workouts got hard, when practice got hard, when the game got hard, you didn't quit because you had a passion to do it. So, the same concept needs to carry over when you are starting a business."
Of course, starting a business is hard and you need to have that passion and drive to continue making it the best you can. You must have the mindset that failure is not an option. Keep pushing as if this is your baby. Your most prized project. When Furlow Jr was writing, he kept pushing for 30 days writing and working out. As if it was practice. Once you get into that rhythm of writing or working on your business every day, eventually you'll get that experience, the confidence that you can make it work, and you'll be on your way in no time.
Impact. Inspire. Empower. Furlow knew he had a bigger purpose and once he realized his purpose was to have an impact, not on the football field, but on players lives after football, he took that passion and focused it on these books. He wants to inspire change in someone who might not know where their next step might be. By going through the chapters, he hopes that you become empowered to do something and make a difference in society.
About Nikolai Jackson, Contributing Sports Writer
Nikolai Jackson is from Queens, New York. He graduated with a Broadcast Journalism degree from Brooklyn College. His portfolio consists of covering events from Brooklyn Nets games to the New York International Auto Show. Nikolai watches the NFL, NHL, MLB, NASCAR, F1, and NBA. One day he hopes to work in NASCAR covering the sport that he has watched for over 15 years or MLB covering a sports team.
About VCG Sports
VCG Sports focuses on providing high-quality career and business development services for athletes on the collegiate and professional level, as well as highligting their achievements and involvement outside of their playing careers. We value the importance of personal interaction and take pride in building long-term relationships with the athletes we serve. Our services are cultivated around creating value and preparing athletes for life after sports.