Being blind didn’t stop former Tulane football player Aaron Golub from competing out on the gridiron. There were many challenges along the road, but with a humbled attitude, he accomplished the unthinkable.
The 25-year-old Golub was born legally blind in his right eye with minimal vision in his left eye. He grew up in Newton, Massachusetts, where he had a fairly normal childhood. By no means was growing up legally blind an easy task. Golub had his fair share of struggles, but he overcame them with his positive attitude.
Playing multiple sports growing up, including soccer and baseball, Golub ultimately stuck with football after taking up the sport in seventh grade.
“I wanted to be a part of something that was a team, part of something that was greater than myself,’’ Golub said.
Golub played offensive and defensive lineman at the start of his football career, saying they made sense because his job was to hit the person in front of him.
Further on in his career, Golub realized that in order to get good enough he had to switch positions. That’s when he made the switch to long snapper.
To perfect his long snapping techniques, Golub trained at Rubio Long Snapping, where owner Christopher Rubio, a former college long snapper himself at UCLA, teaches long snappers all over the country.
“He was very easy to coach,’’ said Rubio, who has known Golub since 2012.
Golub had a busy college career. His daily schedule consisted of early-morning practices and lift sessions, classes, working, studying, and doing homework.
With Golub working hard every day at perfecting his craft, he became the first legally blind NCAA football player to play in a game.
“I was thrilled, I was excited, I was nervous,” Golub said. “I think a lot of different emotions came to the surface … When the time came, I was nervous at first but then when you get out on the field I kinda just had to relax.”
It took a lot of commitment, dedication, and perseverance to accomplish the unthinkable.
Golub didn’t let the challenges he faced get in the way. He said it’s all about the perspective you have.
“Most people see that challenge as a challenge, as a disadvantage, as an obstacle, ” Golub said. “And when I think about my vision, when I talk about my vision, I talk about it as my greatest advantage over other people. I’m so thankful I was born legally blind because it’s allowed me to do incredible things and meet amazing people and I wouldn’t have had the same experiences that I’ve had if I wasn’t legally blind.”
Gratitude is what keeps Golub grounded when having an off day.
“You can’t be grateful and angry at the same time. You can’t be grateful and anxious at the same time,” Golub said. “… It’s trying to put yourself in a place of gratitude and thinking of and saying or writing down things you are grateful for because if you’re in a state of gratitude it usually takes over those other emotions.”
Golub hasn’t walked an easy life. He’s overcome a lot of hardships throughout his twenty-five years. However, he’s faced his challenges head-on and has remained positive throughout his life’s journey.
Golub was an NFL free agent, however, he never got the chance to play for a team. He said that he was thankful to have gotten to the level he was at.
Today, Golub works in the finance industry and is a motivational speaker. Day by day, he is inspiring people all over the country to chase after their dreams and showing others how the unthinkable can be achieved.
Billy Giannouloudis, who has known Golub for about two years, is a life coach and motivational speaker. Together, they own a business called Amplify Initiatives, which is a program to help athletes around the country with their goals on and off the field.
“ His story in itself is so inspirational,” Giannouloudis said. “Just to see him never limited by that story … he’s got an inspiring story and just to see his work ethic after that, that’s inspiring right there.’’
As Golub pointed out, having a disability isn’t a sentence to be sidelined from life. It’s all about perspective and how to face challenges head-on.
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