Now no two scouts are ever the same.
Each will choose their own distinctive path.
Being granted the independence to amass their own unique collection of merit badges.
Leaning into and venturing towards a scouting experience they can call their own.
To finally, create, lead and consummate their signature project.
Each in their own time.
All at their own pace.
There are those that will choose routes more direct.
And those that – shall we say – opt for a journey a little more scenic.
As a volunteer coach in this community for the past 20 some years, I have come across all species of kids.
And all of them hold a special place in my heart.
But some of my favorites are the ones that begin to blossom just a little later than the rest.
Those that somehow, someway, stick to it and find their way.
Maybe not all at once.
A few steps forward. Several back. A change in direction. Another start.
An experience I can appreciate.
To be a work in progress.
‘Cause like Cole, I too am a late bloomer.
I can speak of him best through our connection on the gridiron.
And for many reasons, I believe his journey there has many parallels to the path which led him here – to this Court of Honor.
From what I recall, he sort of meandered his way through our community’s youth football program.
Over time, he began to find his stride in high school as a Highlander. As he grew, I remember discussing his desire to become a member of HLT. And how he could become a valued member of the football team.
He worked at it. Made himself into a both a solid player and teammate. And he became an important part of a senior class that was a first down away from a second trip to Camp Randall in four years.
Yet, at first glance, Cole’s senior experience wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be.
It left him hurt. Disappointed.
And wanting something more.
More often than not, when things don’t go our way and on our time, we all have a tendency to rush to judgement.
To assume that just because one small instant – in a life soon to be full of them – fails to meet our needs, desires and expectations, then all of those things that it took to get us there have been wasted.
Have somehow become disposable. Never to be used again.
Like too many other things from our life experiences; just packed away and forgotten.
But that is simply not true.
I know for a fact, that every bit of the effort, commitment, character, leadership and experience that Cole employed to get in the backfield is with him right now.
The person and player he made himself into to get on to that field all season, is the very person that rallied himself to be here today.
To become an Eagle.
Everything he did as #3 remains.
Becoming the working capital that will accrue interest over the course of his life.
A one of a kind personal investment to be withdrawn for another moment yet to come.
So – as Pastor Freyer would offer – “he can become what he is meant to be. “
The way I look at it, following Cole’s journey gave us all a gift and a lift.
A little longer look to witness his ongoing work in progress.
An opportunity to see where the few steps forward, followed by several back, a change in direction and another start ultimately took him.
A chance to watch him grow, and someway, somehow find his way.
And find the purpose that exists in every route.
Either direct or scenic.
Whether you are taking a journey through football, achieving the rank of Eagle or just taking on life – everything leading up to all of those instants matter.
It is all important. And it all adds up to something.
For moments just like these.
You got there.
You are an Eagle Scout!
Just what you were always meant to be.
On behalf of the Mequon-Thiensville Optimist Club, I would like congratulate Cole Murphy – and Troop 865.
Yet another Eagle takes wing.