Sunday, October 2, 2016

Uno En Uno With: Teddy Dupay

ZS: Which experiences or events were integral in helping you find the higher power? Which moments helped steer you into turning your life around? Was there an epiphany or self-awakening?

TD: You know, it's kind of a combination of things. Like they say, 'when you hit rock bottom there's only one way to go. That's up.' 

Me, really just turning my life over was a major turning point. Going ahead and accepting that I don't control everything. 

I have control over the things that I do control, that's making good choices.

 Even more important than that is putting myself in situations where I can be successful. 

 So often, if you put yourself in a bad situation, the only thing that can happen is option A and Option B. Both of those options are bad for you.

It's tough to put a finger on one day or one turning point. 

Except for me obviously accepting that I'm not in control, God is. I'm not sure which Bible verse exactly it is, I think it's in Romans, it speaks about "adversity builds endurance.." Your supposed to be thankful for everything. Not just the good things.

ZS: As an athlete and having some of the perks that surely come with being an athlete, you've had a lot of good. Obviously the good, in your eyes, outweighs the bad. Especially when you assess your life now.

 Having these cherished experiences and now possessing this presence that kids seem to eat off of, does it keep you grounded, especially when you think of what could have been?

TD: So as I look back, there's good times. There's amazing times. Things that other people could never ever imagine. 

Jumping on Mike Miller after he hits that shot, one of the top-10 plays in the history of the NCAA tournament. That's incredible. 

Then watching those guys succeed with their careers and in life, that's incredible.  Setting the all-time scoring record in the history of the state, the record is still there.

I don't think anybody can understand what that was like. Not just to break that record but to put in that work. To, over the long period of time, continue to move towards that.

 That's an experience which is mine and mine alone. And also the difficult times also. I'm really thankful for those (difficult) times. Had all of that stuff not happened exactly how it had, I would not be in the place I am right now. I'm very thankful in the position I am in now. 

I love that I get to coach basketball, I love that I get to be in the gym everyday. It's just worked out perfect. It's a lot of good times. Undoubtedly, there's a lot of adversity coming.

But, I'm not scared of it. 

I know that we're going to be OK, we're going to be able to push through it. If I can explain that to the kids. If I can explain to the kids that they can, not just be a lawyer or be a doctor, but be anything...through God. That's more important. 

I take a great sense of pride knowing I can teach kids that they can get through anything God, you can get through anything. When those tough times come, you are definitely going to persevere and get through it. 

The world is not going to end. I just think that the anxiety that a lot of kids have about a bad situation...whether it's not getting to college or something of that often what we fear is bad and we are afraid of never happens. 90 percent of the time it never happens.

ZS: What was your experience like at Florida and how did you handle being a local kid who was vastly undersized at that high-major level?

TD: We came in, we had four freshman in our class. Brett Wright, he was a sophomore. He was the other starter. I remember the first exhibition game. There was probably only 6,000 people in the seats. They turned the lights out for the introductions and I remember being just overcome by emotions. Being there, having that dream come true was just unreal. It was kind of embarrassing because I was a little guy, I considered myself a tough guy. The lights come on and I've got tears in my eyes. I looked at Udonis (Haslem), I looked at Mike (Miller), I looked at Ladarius (Halton), and Brett.  It was just very emotional. It was pretty neat I'll never forget that.

Eddie Shannon, he was the starting point guard. He was a senior, but he was out for a few games. So, we got right into the starting lineup and played a couple of exhibition games. Our first games was Georgia Southern. I think I had 16 and 8. I had another game, and I answered the pressure real well. Florida State, I performed really well that game. Offensively, I think my ability to shoot the ball it really secured me on that level.

Defensively, certainly I had a lot to learn. Just from an overall preparation and effort standpoint, I think that was the biggest adjustment. Understanding how important each defensive position is, was critical.

Luckily coach Donovan he lived with a lot of the mistakes I made. Because he was able to do that, I was able to make a lot of plays too. It was a lot of fun. We had a great group of guys. Nobody expected a lot from us. I think that first year we were projected to finish dead last in the SEC and we went to the Sweet 16. Then the next year obviously we won the SEC and made it to the final four and the final game. The next year, we won the SEC again. It was a really cool run and a very special time. It was a pretty awesome cast of characters we had there. We assembled quite a team.

ZS: What was it like trying out for the Miami Heat and how did you prepare yourself for such a daunting challenge at that age?

TD: Understanding that you know, I was 35 at the time. So not heavy, heavy running, stuff that would really strain my body. A lot of elliptical. A lot of intentional heart work, in terms of understanding what my heart rate would be while I was playing and then artificially getting in there on the elliptical and keeping it there. Really it was just training the heart. When you get out of shape, you do body yoga. I do a lot of that. I do yoga two, sometimes three times a week. At least. I belong in a studio here in Tampa I do it here with the kids. It's great for flexibility, great for flexibility. It's just quiet time, to really relax and think about nothing. Just to focus. Life is so busy for so many people, we don't really take much quiet time. I know I sure never did.

Obviously, I was shooting every day. Being able to play basketball everyday, it's awesome. I mean it's what I'm supposed to be doing from the very beginning.