Apopka High School is churning out Darlingtons at an accelerated pace. One every two years to be exact. The same teachers are used to seeing similar faces paired with different variations of their father’s iconic sarcasm. We’ve had the same classes, the same teachers, and even some of the same assignments.
One such as assignment is what has my restless mind buzzing today. An assignment from AP Psychology that my sister Gracie recently completed and shared with me. It is called “Soundtrack of my Life.” The basic premise is the tell the story of your life through songs. In the good old days, we made a CD. In this innovative technological netherworld, the yungins now just create Spotify playlists.
It’s been six years since I last compiled my soundtrack, and a heck of a lot of life has happened in that time, so it’s time for an update! The following is a list of songs that have made me laugh and made me cry, that have molded me and shaped me, that have given purpose and direction to my life.
This reflective exercise can be both enjoyable and therapeutic! I urge you to sit down and write down the songs on your soundtrack. Feel free to tweet them at me! I’d love to listen to the story of your life.
The right way to do this is to listen to each song as you read/write. So grab a pair of headphones, click on the link below, sit back, and enjoy the story!
I Like It, I Love It- Tim McGraw
I like it, I love it, I want some more of it
I don’t have roots in country music, but man did I love this song as a little kid. My mom has videos of me with my boots and cowboy hat singing every single word! It is one of my earliest memories, and a no brainer as the leading song on my soundtrack.
Fly Away- Lenny Kravitz
I want to get away, I want to flyyyyyyyy awayyyyyyyy…Yeahhhhh… Yeahhh…. Yeahh
I am a coach’s kid, and I grew up transitioning from one role to the next within my dad’s program. WaterboyàBallboyàManageràPlayer. I went to sleep at night watching my dad’s team’s highlight films, and I will forever associate those songs with my football-obsessed childhood. For whatever reason, this particular highlight film song seemed to be more emblematic than the others.
*For Connor Knight- This is off the 2000 Apopka Highlight Film. Offensive section.
The World’s Greatest- R Kelly
I’m that star up in the sky, I’m that mountain peak up high… Yeah I made it…. I’m the world’s greatest
I look back at how I was as a kid, and I truly believe I was a little bit crazy. I tagged along to workouts by 2nd grade. In 4th grade, I started waking up at 4:30 AM in the winter to participate in the high school winter workouts. By 5th grade, I fully participated in the entire spring football and summer conditioning programs with my dad’s players. In 7th grade, I was painting dot drills and hexagons for footwork drills in my garage. I would even do pass sets on trees in my front yard. I was starving to be great. It possessed my thoughts. During those late night and early morning sessions of solitude, this song drove me. At the time, I truly believed I could be the best football player to ever play the game. Now, that same mindset is applied to whatever it is I am undertaking at the moment.
Lose Yourself- Eminem
If you had one shot, one opportunity, to seize everything you ever wanted… one moment… Would you capture it? Or just let it slip?
The lyrics rattled around my head in the period of life where I hunted down my dreams. I had always dreamed of playing college football, but through my sophomore year I was very undersized and my chances weren’t looking great. Then a spring growth spurt put me in realm of consideration for scholarships. When spring football came around, I fully understood the value of the opportunity, for each day college coaches would be watching practice. I approached each of those practices with the focus and intensity of a game, and after the final bell sounded, I walked from the classroom to the locker room with my headphones in and Eminem’s anthem ringing in my ears. The first week after school got out, I listened to this song in the grass parking lot of the intramural fields at the University of Oklahoma. Following that practice, Coach Bob Stoops offered me the scholarship I had been pursuing my entire life.
Mr. Brightside- The Killers
I’m going out of my cage and I’ve been doing JUST FINE, Gotta gotta be down, because I want it all!
You simply cannot “sing” this song. You have to scream it! The Killers were a favorite of my closest friends in high school. We jokingly referred to ourselves as “The Wolfpack”, and Mr. Brightside was our howl.
Just a Kiss- Lady Antebellum
But baby I’m alright with just a kiss goodnight
Oh yes, this is exactly what you think it is- A high school love song. I look back now and laugh/cringe that we had “our song”, but I also smile because it’s a good memory and an invaluable experience. It was my first love, and I learned so much about love and myself in that relationship.
Superman- Five for Fighting
It may sound absurd, but don’t be naïve. Even heroes have the right to bleed.
Expectation…. The weight of expectation can be absolutely unbearable at times. Early on in my college years, I struggled with the expectations placed on me by myself and others. My traits and previous accolades immediately drew the attention of teammates, classmates, and coaches. I had built up a certain reputation and persona that led to the expectation for me to fulfill my vast potential as a player, person, and student. Others expected great things from me. I expected greater things from myself. As I wrestled with those expectations in my mind, the words of this song were my retort to the world. I am not Superman. I have the right to bleed. I have the right to mess up. I am only a man.
Preach- Young Dolph
Out here in these streets there aint no such thing as love- PREACH
The 2015 team loved every minute we got to spend with each other. That year, Coach Stoops decided to start practicing at 6:45 in the morning on Fridays. It would have been very understandable for us to come out to these practices a little groggy and lackadaisical, but Young Dolph had other plans. I have no idea how it came about, but this song became the anthem of Friday morning practices. We cranked it up as loud as it would go, and then everybody would dance until the stretch whistle blew. I’ll forever remember how much fun we had that year.
Unwritten- Natasha Bedingfield
….REACHING for something in the DISTANCE, so close you can almost TASTE IT, release your inhibitions, feel the rain on your SKIN!
Wait what? What’s this one doing on here? All credit goes to Mr. Joseph “Fingaz” Palange, who guided this tune to infamy with his choreographed hand motions. If you ever attended a social gathering at 1315 Ann Arbor Dr., chances are you screamed this too.
Dixieland Delight- Alabama
Spend my dollar- ON BEER- Parked in a holler in the mountain blue light- ROLL TIDE
The Alabama Football version. I’m sorry for saying Roll Tide, but it’s just too much fun. We’ve belted this one out in multiple states.
The Boys of Fall- Kenny Chesney
I’ve got your number, I’ve got your back, when your back’s against the wall
The only song that can bring to summation all the feelings I had at the end of my playing career. Out of sheer nostalgia, I listened to it on the flight back to OKC from Nashville after being cut. Kenny put words to the feelings left unsaid by every man who’s ever picked up a pigskin.
Pieces- Rob Thomas
Not quite ready to explain this one yet, but I assure you it’s spot is well-deserved.
Clear the Stage- Jimmy Needham
Anything I put before my God… Is an idol. Anything I want with all my heart… Is an idol. Anything I can’t stop thinking of…. Is an idol
A few months ago, as I was on a flight to California, I heard this song for the first time, and it pierced my heart and convicted me immediately. I love the Lord, but I realized that I had idols in my life. Too often, we think of idols in the ancient Biblical sense, as statues made of gold and silver that are physically bowed to. But in this day and age, idols take much less blatantly sacrilegious forms. I have made an idol out of football in my life. I have made idols out of certain people in my life. I have spent more time, energy, and attention on worldly desires than on my spiritual needs. This song convicted me of this fact, and led to a major spiritual revival that is still alive in my heart.
I’m Still Here- John Rzeznik
How can the world want me to change? They’re the ones that stay the same. They don’t know me, cause I’m not here!
Yes, this from the Treasure Planet soundtrack*
From a very young age, I have believed that I am different. Honestly, that belief is one of the pillars of my existence. Some might perceive this as arrogance, and that’s ok. When I say I’m “different from everybody else”, others translate that as “better than everyone else.” I don’t believe that to be true. But for quite some time, I have wrestled with this feeling of guilt because of my gifts. At times, I have felt a compulsion to hide some of my considerable talents so as to not intimidate others or cause other to feel insecure. A variety of things have pushed me to completely disavow this notion with disgust and step into who I am with confidence and without shame. The first is my belief that God created me this way, and that I am obligated to maximize my talents to bring him glory. Of smaller influence have been secular works, such as this song, Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, and a quote from Marianne Williamson. In part, it reads “Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that others do not feel insecure around you.” Yes, I do believe that I am different. No, I do not apologize for that belief…. And you shouldn’t either.
Here Am I- MercyMe
Whom shall I send? Who will go for me? To the ends of the Earth, who will rise up for the King? HERE AM I! SEND ME!
This song is based upon a passage of scripture in Isaiah 6 in which Isaiah has this conversation with the Lord. I want this song to be the attitude of my heart at all times. “Send me, Lord!” I want to be ready and available to be used by God. Send me where you want me, Lord. But I do not just think about this in a geographic sense. Yes, I want to go into all the world spreading the Gospel. Haiti, Belize, and wherever else God sends me. But I also want to be willing to “go” into broken situations, to “go” to hurting people, and to “go” to insurmountable tasks.
Bless Me Indeed- MercyMe
Bless me indeed, open wide my horizons, to sing your praise. Bless me indeed, may your hand keep me from harm and pain.
Bless Me Indeed draws directly from Jabez’s prayer in 2 Chronicles. Jabez asked the Lord to bless him, protect him, draw him close to God, and expand his territory. God granted his request. In the summer of 2013, my spiritual mentor Adam Barnett began praying this prayer over the lives of myself and Trevor Knight. God has answered it in every way, and we continue to pray this prayer today. I am confident that God will continue to honor our prayer, because He does not change.
Who Am I- Casting Crowns
Who am I, that the Lord of all the Earth would care to know my name, would care to feel my hurt?
This is my life’s song. This is the paradox. A lot of the songs on this list are indicative of my confidence in myself and my drive to succeed. These lyrics humble my heart and bring my pride to its knees. Who am I? Even with the awards, successes, gifts, and ambitions. They amount to nothing in the eyes of an Almighty God. I am but a man. A sinful, prideful, imperfect man. A flower quickly fading, here today and gone tomorrow. A wave tossed in the ocean. A vapor in the wind. Nothing I have done or ever will do impress God. My righteousness is filthy rags in his eyes. I try to stack up my works and accolades, yet still fall so woefully short. BUT STILL. You hear me when I’m calling. You catch me when I’m falling. You tell me who I am. It blows my mind and pierces my heart to realize that I am not even close to good enough, but He loves me anyways. He blesses me anyways. He wants to have a relationship with me? ME?? This song will forever remind me of my own worthlessness next to God’s righteousness, and also of God’s irrational grace and reckless mercy.
Thank you so much for making it this far! Tweet me your soundtrack and I’ll give it a listen!