Star High School Athlete Tells Survival Story, Inspires All

Former three-sport varsity high school and college scholarship athlete Dan Duval, voted most popular, most likely to be remembered, and best athlete by his high school classmates, knows the consequences of making poor choices--no doubt about that.

According to George Morse's article, Survivor details dangers of drugs and alcohol (, Dan headed down his troublesome path of substance abuse before graduating high school. His alcohol use, the kind that caused Mr. Duval to black out on occasion, led him to several other addictions including "everything from marijuana to LSD, hallucinogenic mushrooms and cocaine."

Morse reports that it took a good 5 years after Dan had graduated high school for him to make a commitment of sobriety, something too few actually follow through on. Now, 27 years later, he takes his Josh Hamilton-like story directly to college and high school age students. Speaking to "more than 500,000" attendees over the last 23 years, Dan looks to make a difference for others through the variety of stories and advice he presents. And based on Mr. Morse's portrayal of Duval's presentation, I would think it's possible that Dan does accomplish making a difference for others.

As a 32-year veteran in education, working with high school students and student athletes, I have learned (from them) that they like to hear from those with real experience, not those with the pretense of it. They enjoy, and are moved, by individuals who have done something and are less interested in adult-type "teachings." They absolutely hate being lectured to or spoken "at," much preferring a story that speaks "to" them, creating a picture of experience they can relate to, especially when those experiences are something they're familiar with...sometimes too familiar with.

This is where I think Dan's story strikes a chord with many an individual, no matter what the age. The idea that one can learn through either the mistakes and/or accomplishments of another is strong within most of us. The emotional investment it brings, what Dan is likely to bring with his narratives, is key to helping others follow a more positive path of "choice making." And isn't that what it's really all about, making better choices?

 "Whatever you put into this world is what you get out of it"

                                                                      Dan Duval

How true that is!!!

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