Josh Green | How trusting the process in rough water, and burning the boats leads to livin the dream
Preface by Janx
From the outside looking in, the athletes we see in the bright lights often make it look easy. They seem to go down some pre-ordained path to get to where they are and in reality that is rarely the case. Josh Green will play American Football in the Pac-12 this coming season. Yes, that Pac-12. The Power 5 conference. In a sport that is the national sport in the sports-loving country of the United States. This achievement is phenomenal if you are an American, living on home soil, who had always played football and developed through the system there, gifted with gifts to excel in the sport. This is the big end of college sports and anyone that gets there is in the big time.
For Josh Green, this is something else. It is beyond an achievement. It is an amazing story of using sport to find your niche, grow, being self depending, empowered and resilient. His story is just amazing like so many of the athletes we feature.
3 years ago I was lucky to get to know Josh. We were traveling buddies of sorts in the United States T.ere to visit our mutual friend and Featured Athlete, Isaac White. There to check out Isaac’s games including a blockbuster game vs North Carolina Tarheels, then some more in what was the biggest pre-season college basketball tournament in history, the PK80.
Josh was then traveling around visiting various Aussies at Colleges at spending some time with friends he had followed and I guess it would be fair to say he admired as a fan. It was clear he also wanted to learn from them, learn what it takes to succeed. Pick their brains to get their stories. This young man was someone I had to like and respect. He had a passion, a desire to do something special. What "that" was, he probably thought it would be basketball at the time and in reality I'm sure he had no idea what it was he would do. What he did know was that he was going to challenge himself, try new things, aim to achieve personal excellence, and grow through that journey finding his ideal path.
PICTURED: Josh with Isaac in the Stanford men's basketball locker room.
PICTURED: Kerry White (Isaac's father), Coach Janx and Josh at the Stanford vs North Carolina Tarheels game that Isaac had 19 pts in.
When we caught up about a year later he was heading back to the US and had just signed to a California Junior college. For those that don’t know in California Jucos Do not offer sports scholarships. They are cheaper all round because of this but for athletes, you need to pay. We spoke about pathways and opportunities for him to ultimate play on a full scholarship and I was certain with the mindset, determination and approach he had he could do that. What level? D1 or D2 NCAA? level? I don’t know and really did not at the time.
The path he has taken since then has just been amazing. He got injured badly, transferred to a Football Juco, appeared on Netflix drama LastChanceU, gained a scholarship to Mountain West school Fresno State. Fresno State is BIG. But what has now happened is he has gained a scholarship to Oregon State. Josh started the game incredibly late. To gain a scholarship to a Pac12 school, on the current trajectory he would certainly be on the radars of NFL scouts all over the US pro league. This would put Josh up there with Australia’s highest earners in the sports industry globally as the average NFL player earns around $2.75 MILL AUD per annum. Who knows if Josh will get there? My bet knowing him and knowing athletes as I do and what makes them tick and succeed there is a very strong likelihood he will get there.
VIDEO: Pac12 Football is BIgtime college sports. Check out their intro video here to give you a feel of the size of this program.
Over to Josh
What was it like being on Netflix TV Show Last Chance - U?
Last Chance U was an incredible experience. Just to see them making the show and getting to know the directors was super cool. It was strange at first to have cameras pretty much everywhere we went, but we all got used to it after a while. Because I wasn’t the main focus in the show I was able to go about my business as normal as possible, and my life didn’t change like some of the other guys when it came out. It was pretty crazy to watch the series when it came out. I was really just watching our season like I was back there and got to see some of my best mates' stories come to life on Netflix. It was also amazing for my family and friends back home to get to see the life I was living at Laney College.
VIDEO: If you have not seen Last Chance U and you love sport and love true stories of athletes climbing their pathway then you have to check this out. Josh does not have a major role in the series but his program does for sure and you definitely see him throughout the series.
PICTURED: Josh with Coach John Beam of Laney College who helped Josh's career in so many ways. Coach Beam is heavily featured on Last Chance U and is an amazing, polarising character who has impacted many, many lives.
Tell us about your sports journey through Adelaide through to where you are now?
Growing up I dipped my feet in a few different sports. My main two were Aussie Rules Footy and Basketball but I used to rate myself as a bit of a sprinter as well. I had a lot of fun growing up. I played some junior/development squad footy with the North Adelaide Roosters, and then just started losing passion for it and felt more enjoyment for basketball which I wasn’t really as good at. I was playing Div 2 at Forestville and couldn’t really see a future. I just found it to be a bit of fun. Luckily enough in U/18s I broke into the 1s at Forestville and got to be a part of that which was great. I still really didn't see any future so I tried to jump back into footy and went out to West Adelaide which was right next to my house at the time. I was having a pretty decent pre-season but I was having some issues at home, and unfortunately, my Mum had been diagnosed with brain cancer and given a short time to live, so I just couldn't put in the time to make football a true success and walked away from any serious level of Footy. My athletic career seemed to be over and after unfortunately losing my Mum I had no passion for anything anymore. I started playing basketball again just for a bit of fun and a way to get my mind off losing my Mum. Eventually, my competitive nature took over and I started to train more and more every day until my coach and good friend Rich Dickel suggested maybe going over to the states and giving it a crack over here. For me, it was important to go back to school as I had dropped out of high school when my Mum got sick and I knew she wanted me to get my education. I had spoken to her about going back and finishing school and playing college or professional sport one day, and with me wanting to keep my word to my Mum this seemed like the best option for me. After that, I basically found myself at a community college in California trying to give it all a crack, and then somehow I ended up punting balls at Laney College which led me to a PAC 12 scholarship at Oregon State. It truly was a crazy journey.
PICTURED: Josh signing his LOI with Oregon State. Amazing result for this young man and we can't wait to see what he does next with the opportunity.
PICTURED: Josh on campus at Oregon State Football's home Reser stadium.
How have various people impacted you so far in your journey
Yeah, kind of like what you said in the intro. I had some friends over here playing basketball and I was a bit of a fan of sorts of them and what they were doing. The life they were living and what they were doing intrigued me a lot and gave me that passion to want to come over here.
PICTURED: Josh always keeps networks with fellow elite athletes. Here he is with HPHN Featured Athlete Alumni Alex Mudronja, Matt Dellavedova and co.
I also had Rich Dickel giving up countless hours of his time to help me and push me towards my goals.
And once I got over here Coach John Beam changed my life. He gave me hope and the opportunity to do what I'm doing now. He believed in me in times I didn't believe in myself which was life-changing for me.
I think most of all it's been my family though. They have supported me more than anyone could imagine. It is unexplainable how much they have done for me and how much they mean to me. I always wanted to do something special over here to say thank you to them for sticking by me. I am extremely grateful for the position I am in, and if my career finished here at Oregon State I would be completely fine and content with that. But my goal is to look after these people, to give back and financially make sure no one would have to think about money anymore. This is a well-paid game and they deserve to be looked after.
PICTURED: Josh with his cousin, Wade. His family stepped up when his mother sadly passed away and provided amazing support him. He dreams of being able to do something special to give back to them.
Did basketball help prepare you for American Football in any positive way?
Yeah undoubtedly. I would lift and condition every day for basketball which has helped with my transition greatly. The hand-eye coordination has helped with catching snaps which was great this past season. I think most of all the hard work and commitment that I had with basketball I was able to transition which helped me pick up punting fast.
Did you ever see moving to the USA to play JUCO basketball as a risk and if so why did you take the risk?
I think it felt like a bit of a risk just because of what other people were saying. There wasn’t a whole lot of belief in me. But personally, I’m a big Conor Mcgregor fan and this quote spoke to me
“There's no talent here, this is hard work. This is an obsession. Talent doesn't exist, we all are equals as human beings. You could be anyone if you put in the time. You will reach the top, and that's that. I'm not talented, I am obsessed."
I truly believe we are all equal, and that whether it was basketball or football I was willing to put in the work to be successful. In my mind, this wasn’t a risk, as I truly believed hard work and my inner belief in myself would lead me to success.
Describe what you expect the big Pac-12 games will be like?
When we have fans I think it's going to be pretty insane. The competition will be phenomenal. To play programs like UCLA, USC, Oregon, Stanford, Washington, Arizona every year is just something to really look forward to. The game that my teammates have been telling me about is our rivalry game against Oregon and how crazy that atmosphere is. The big-time atmosphere and playing against the elite competition is something I can't wait to do.
PICTURED: Pac 12 games - Reser Stadium is going to be an exciting place for Josh to play this season.
PICTURED: Reser Stadium. College sports at Pac 12 level is like a religion for many Americans.
What is Oregon State like how are the coaches, teammates, and fans treating you so far?
I'm absolutely loving it. The coaches have been great and very welcoming. I have built a great relationship with the coaches and our communication about the different punts I can do and working together has been great. I love my teammates, I feel like they are my family already. I moved up to Corvallis 2 months ago to start workouts and in that time I've grown to love this place, and that's mostly been because of the friendships I've built with my teammates. The fans have been great, we have been distant from them because of COVID but I've seen the support online and have taken a couple of selfies on the street. The support for our program is phenomenal and we are all very thankful for the fans.
What does a typical day look like for Josh Green right now?
My morning routine is something I take a bit of pride in.
The first thing I do is make my bed! I then make a green tea or coffee and read for 15-30 minutes while I drink my tea or coffee. (I’m currently reading 12 Rules for Life by Jordan B. Peterson). I will then write a gratitude and affirmation journal. I then meditate on the headspace app for 10-15 minutes. Once I've done that I will shower and stretch before practice and eat a light meal.
We lift and condition from 10:30 am-12:30 pm which is pretty brutal stuff.
1:30 pm-2:30 pm we are doing position-specific drills, which for me means I’ll have a punt, catch snaps from long snappers, and hold for the kickers.
The rest of my day is generally pretty free right now but we start school next week so that will change. I'll normally hang out with teammates, get some food, and watch Conor Mcgregor's movie for the 800th time. I always stretch before bed and I make sure to give thanks and gratitude for the day before I sleep. They also have a proper good hot chocolate machine at the apartment complex I live at, so I've been smashing those down like no tomorrow.
PICTURED: A day in the life for Josh Green is intense, challenging and filled with growth and development. Being a student-athlete, in a major sport like US Football, in the Pac12 is NOT for the faint-hearted.
What tricks and techniques do you use to motivate you?
I have two main tricks and techniques that I implement on most days.
I think It is important not to compare yourself to who others are today, but to who you were yesterday. I think competing with yourself and just wanting to be better is a motivator for me. Comparing myself to others in the past had me unmotivated at times and feeling not good enough. Having that focus on just being a better me is definitely something I’ve found motivating.
PICTURED: Josh Green playing basketball for Adelaide High School only a few years ago. He compares himself to himself and aims to grow continuously day by day. He is doing that and living proof what one can overcome to achieve amazing outcomes.
Visualization. I look at kids and see how happy they are and how much joy they get from little things. Kids are outside playing with toys, kicking the footy, and using their imagination. My little cousin Wade used to have a mini-ring in the house and he would be yelling out NBA players' names and using his imagination to feel like he was playing with or against his favorite players. I would think about when I was a kid and I would do that. I would picture myself playing AFL for Port and kicking goals at the MCG, and that time was just the absolute best. It was so fun and I started to wish I could go back to that time. But we all can, we don’t lose our imagination. So when I used to shoot hoops with Rich Dickel at 6 am in the morning, I used to picture that Wayville was a packed out stadium in the US and that I was playing in big-time arenas in big-time games. I used to picture crowds cheering every time a shot went in. I still do this to this day, I visualize myself in situations that excite me and use my imagination just like a kid. For me, using my imagination just like a kid is a motivator as I’m now just having fun and no longer feel I’m in a serious or stressful situation.
You have always been incredibly motivated on the day to day process, how do you keep the motivation up when you cannot always see where it might take you?
To answer this question in regards to not seeing anything and staying motivated, I instantly think of this quote.
“ When nothing seems to help, I go and look at a stonecutter hammering away at his rock, perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not that last blow that did it, but all that had gone before.”
What kept me motivated in times where it felt like I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel was something along the lines of that quote. My motivation was that if I kept chipping away that maybe things would break open for me, and maybe my dreams would come true.
What would you say the "secret of success" has been for you so far to get here?
I burned my boats. I came to the US with no plans to come back. My goal was quite simply to gain a scholarship.
My goals have obviously changed now but I was willing to give up everything to achieve what I have so far. Basically what burning your boats means is, back in the day when people used to take over islands they would burn their boats once they got to that island. What this meant was they had no way of turning back, they either had to succeed and take over that island, or they would ultimately die trying. This is important because when faced with either death or succeeding people tend to succeed. But most people give themselves a way out and that's why they don’t get what they want. They don't burn their boats so if things aren't going to plan they can just jump back on and take the easy way home without succeeding. I was willing to lose everything to succeed, my boats had been burnt. Instead of trying to build a new boat and go back home when basketball wasn't going to plan, I stayed here and worked out another way to take over the island. And now the island is mine.
PICTURED: One of Josh's favorite philosophies in life that has helped him to get to where he is today.
What does the future hold?
In the immediate future, the original plan was to come into Oregon State and redshirt this season behind a senior punter who is an NFL talent and develop as I had 4 years to play 3 seasons. However, due to COVID, we have all been granted an extra year of eligibility, which means I have 5 years to play 3-4 seasons. This also means the senior punter has another year. With this being said and uncertainties with COVID, I can not draw an exact picture of the immediate future. I will compete here, and once my career is over at Oregon State I have no doubt I will have given everything I have to give the NFL a red hot crack. It will take a lot of time, dedication, and commitment to the sport over many years to get to my goal which is something I'm willing to do. Ultimately, anything past getting this scholarship is just a bonus for me now. I am very grateful to be here and don't take any of this for granted.