The relationship of AJ to the Gold Team is a somewhat complex one, and I am going to use a metaphor to describe it. In high school, during your freshman year you begin to form a group of friends that you hang out and do things with. The people you hang out with are never set in stone, but usually there is a core group of guys that always hang out together. Then at the end of freshman year, when you have this group of friends, at the beginning of sophomore year you hang out with the same people. But then a new kid comes to the school in 10th grade, and he's cool, but you aren't really sure if you want him to be a part of the group. After getting to know the new kid for a few months, the group decides they like him and he just becomes a part of it like everybody else.
Well, AJ Astroth is the new kid who moved to town in the 10th grade. He started off the season shifting between the Black and Gold teams in practice, particularly when Dai-Jon Parker was ineligible. After injuring his hamstring and then the return of Dai-Jon, AJ went to the Gold Bombers. At first the Bombers were skeptical of his true allegiance. Nate Watkins and Carter Josephs wondered if AJ's heart was truly in the right place and if he could really become a member Gold For Life or G4L. This period of suspicion lasted into the new year, but then AJ slowly became accepted by his fellow Gold members. Now he is an integral part of the G4L Family, and he brings a lot to the Golden table.
AJ and I have always had mutual admiration for one another, and I think that stems the fact that neither of us has a filter. For instance, AJ tweeted something the coaches didn't like earlier in the year and was reprimanded for it, while my dad has requested the deletion of numerous of my own tweets much to the dismay of my loyal followers. AJ also pitched on a legendary locker room joke last week I pulled off last week. I usually speak my mind, and I'm a terrible liar so even if I wanted to lie, I really couldn't. People on the team know that if they want an honest, no BS answer they can ask me for one and I will give it to them. However, I can be quiet and reserved at times, I don't always speak my mind just usually when asked.
AJ, on the other hand, is always talking. He is the second most talkative and loud member of the team behind Kyle Fuller. If you walk into the locker room at any time and don't hear one of their voices, it is likely we either lost or they left the gym. I always have these visions of myself walking somewhere in ten years and hearing AJ's voice because it would stand out in any circumstance. AJ is a happy go lucky kind of kid and always smiling. He always brings positive energy to the locker room because he never gets down. He always lifts my mood, particularly when he sings Eye of the Tiger, "Dan's the Mannnn..... Going to Work", it always gets me going. He has also called me an "inspiration" and "his hero" on a few occasions, and he might be the first person to ever say I'm his hero outside of my mother so that's nice.
Since AJ talks quite a bit, he opens himself up to the ridicule of others but AJ always defends himself ferociously. He has a response for everything, sometimes even to the coaches during practice, but he has toned down on those since the start of the year because those never end well (YOU! YOU! YOU!). AJ is also not afraid to ask the tough question. If he doesn't know the answer to something, he will ask. A great example of this is when Rod Odom brought a cardboard poster into the locker room and AJ asked what material it was made of. Rod replied, "Cardboard, what else would it be?" to which AJ said, "I'm not sure I thought maybe tile cause I didn't really get a good look." Penetrating stuff. Investigative journalism could certainly be in his future.
So AJ, since I know you read the blog, I want to conclude by saying: you're my everyday Superhero. I know this song isn't J. Cole or Drake, but I think you'll enjoy it. Keep inspiring AJ.