The hardest decision anyone can be forced to make is choosing between two loves.
Recent graduate Jordan Beck’s college choice came down to just that.
You know him as the of the 2011 North Suburban Conference championship Scouts. What you may not know is what he aspires to be: a member of the military. In the arena of competing desires, the soldier won out.
“I’ve been playing football for 11 or 12 years and it's something I’ve never not played. I’ll miss it,” said Beck. “But being a soldier is what I want to be, and football takes a back seat to that.”
Eschewing an offer to play football at Whittenberg University, a Division 3 school in Ohio, Beck is taking his leadership talents to Greenville, S.C., where he will enroll at Furman University and the ROTC program. Beck will study military science.
A talented, athletic playmaker for the Scouts in 2011, Beck, along with Dayton-bound Owen Williams and Michigan-bound Bo Dever, made up the core of a Lake Forest team that en route to the school’s first conference title in football since 1995.
Hoping to land at West Point, when he was denied admission, he turned his interest to Furman, a liberal arts school first established in 1826. Long talks with his father, Dan, a former track athlete at Michigan, helped him find peace in what at times, was a challenging process.
“There was not a specific moment. It was hard and took a lot of time,” said Beck. “I was looking at goals I have for myself and (Furman) made the most sense. It was the best school I went to.”
By enrolling in the school’s ROTC program, Beck will start on the fast track toward becoming a Ranger, elite members of the U.S. Army. Rangers first were established in the 17th century and have fought in battles as far back as the American Revolution and the Civil War.
Much training is needed at that level of the military, and ROTC provides the operations foundation necessary along with a more rapid ascent through the ranks.
“When I graduate, I’ll be commissioned as an officer. If you work hard and get that preference, I’ll go to Ranger school,” said Beck.
But this future soldier isn’t hanging up his cleats for good. Furman does have a football program (Football Bowl Subdivision or what used to be 1-AA) and a baseball team (Beck was a starting outfielder for the 2012 Scouts).
The school also has vibrant club programs. The only avenue he’s ruled out is that he won’t try out for the football team this year.
So if you are driving through Greenville, S.C., this fall, you’ll most likely see Beck wearing one of two uniforms: that of an athlete and that of a soldier. One represents who he was and is, the other, what he always has wanted to be.
“In ROTC you have the same leadership and competition as you would in football. There’s something about setting up what I want with my life as a soldier in the Army,” said Beck. “For me, I like the certainty of committing to a program that would pay off later.”