Like many, Trent Shelton grew up with dreams of becoming an NFL player. However, unlike those unfulfilled masses, Shelton actually lived out his dream for longer than most. He hasn’t been on the gridiron in nearly a decade, but Shelton’s game is now to assist young people in overcoming many common pitfalls. His first book, “The Greatest You” was an inspirational account of Trent’s struggles after football and how he battled depression, endured a friend’s suicide, found God and faced his reality head-on, which gave him an opportunity to fix his life.
His new book, “Straight Up,” continues along that path. The Shadow League spoke with the NFL player turned inspirational author about his journey.
Trenton Shelton: It’s a book targeted to young adults and that was motivating for me because just growing up, obviously I had some great parents, great teachers and great coaches in my life, but I just feel like I was missing that “straight up” talk. So, I just wanted to write a book for young adults.
So, I wanted to write a book that really helps people by focusing on different areas. Sort of like a holistic approach so that they can get that straight up talk that they need.
I think the main thing that young readers are going to take from this is that it’s okay to ask for help.
I tell a story in my book in which I was afraid to ask for help because I thought that was a weakness. It was a sign that you weren’t strong because you weren’t supposed to ask for help. I realized through the course of my life that help is one of the greatest strengths you can have in your life and if you ask for help, usually you receive help. I’m trying to get kids to realize that doesn’t mean you’re weak. That actually shows that you’re strong.
The Shadow League: These days kids are more plugged into the media, whether social media or the news media, than at any other time in history. Given the current circumstances, what are some primary lessons you think are contemporary and relevant for today?
Trent Shelton: I think the first thing is being a reflection of what you want to see in the world. Giving love and having empathy I think is one of the greatest cures for what ails us. Having empathy means being able to love your neighbor as you love yourself. So, that’s the message that I want to give.
We can’t just give opinions without working towards or being an example of, a solution. People in general just have to do their part. Whether it’s a small part or a big part, making sure that your household and your friends share and receive the love or even if it’s someone who doesn’t look like you, whether it’s Black or White. That type of vibe is what I feel would definitely bring more love into the world.
TSL: What is one of the primary lessons from the book that resonates most with you?
Trent Shelton: Probably to remain true to yourself. I’ve lost friends along the way, from when I went to the NFL, and from when I went to college and had a lot of rehab time. I lost friends along the way and it was hard. You expect your friends to be there for you but real situations reveal what’s real in your life. In life, a lot of people take it personally when they lose someone. I want readers to realize that, sometimes, the greatest gain is from something you lose.
TSL: Tells us about your Rehab program.
To me, the word rehab means you’re putting in work. It’s not fun, you gotta have patience, but if you take your time you’ll come back physically stronger than you were before the injury. I want to take that same mindset to life. We all have things that we can be better at and, for me, it just means putting the strength back into a weakness.
“Straight Up” by Trent Shelton is currently on Amazon and wherever books are sold.