Dream Team

Not all hopes will be crushed at the Crush open tryouts.

For now, though, Walker believes that time is still on his side. Despite the fact that this journey cost him $700, he was encouraged by his Crush workout. He pledges to lose fifty pounds this year -- via protein shakes, salads heaped with boneless, skinless chicken, and plenty of gym time. By next year he hopes to be pretty good with free weights, a lot faster and quicker to react. All the while, he says, he will be "living every day to the fullest" -- even when that means hauling pipe or swinging a sledgehammer.

Mark Manger
George Walker gets big air.
Mark Manger
George Walker gets big air.

"You just can't give up, ever," he says. "I won't, because I need to live my dream and do what I love, which is play football." Even in his seemingly boundless hope, there may be a whiff of doubt. His 24th birthday, which arrived on a freezing bus in Kansas, didn't much affect him, he says: "It was just another day." But next year's birthday may signify something else: It will be a reminder that the clock is ticking. "A quarter-century," he says quietly. "Kind of a milestone. That will probably mean something. My prime is now, and I better take advantage of it while I can. Before it's too late."

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