Have you ever had a group of friends who you can’t imagine living without? A few people in your life who you KNOW are there for a reason, through both your ups and your downs?

I have been fortunate enough to find a group of friends like this in Phoenix. As you may know, the NFL can be a lonely world. Once off-season hits, you’re basically on your own and left to fend for yourself and find your fit for the next few months until the team reconvenes for practice.

Thankfully for me, this isn’t the case. I’m grateful that I’ve been able to make friends outside of my main call of duty on the football field.

These friends have spent a lot of time with me, and vice versa. They’ve started to see my rhythms and my rhymes and even sense my humor. They laugh with me, cry with me, and care for me—they care for me enough, in fact, to “embarrass” me in front of 50 strangers at an improv show.

Allow me to set the scene. A few days ago I received an email from Ale, a good friend of mine, who claimed she was writing a blog post about people who “really inspired her.” She wanted me to fill out a questionnaire. I was flattered, and my ego was blown up, so I gladly filled it out. I was as honest and open as I could possibly be. She mentioned that it may be made public, but I had no qualms about being vulnerable… or so I thought.

Questions included, “What is your fondest childhood memory?” and “What Is the most daring thing you’ve ever done?” Even this question was included: “Describe, in detail, the most embarrassing moment of your life.” I finished the questionnaire and sent it back to Ale within minutes. I then completely forgot about all of this. That is, until Saturday night.

We hadn’t hung out in a while so we planned a get together. This time we decided to check out Jester’Z Improv, a 90 minute comedy show. Everything was going normally until the emcee walked into the crowd and asked if someone named “Samuel” was in attendance. I sheepishly crept my hand in the air and said that I “had been given” that name.

The scene was set. He proceeded to read aloud ALL of my answers to Ale’s “questionnaire” as I thought to myself, “This is gonna be bad…” Oddly enough, however, I could not stop smiling. I looked to my right and saw my friends Max, Mary, Brittany, Jose, and Ale laughing uncontrollably. It was a Kodak moment.

Once the emcee finished embarrassing me, he asked the four performers to make a skit based on the life events that I wrote about. Life events such as inventing a game called Floor Football and playing it with my brother. Events such as sneaking into high security buildings, and events such as being teased in middle school for my weight and lack of style. They acted, we laughed, and everyone had a good time.

The whole time sitting there I couldn’t stop doing two things. First, I couldn’t stop smiling. Second, I couldn’t stop thinking to myself, “I have the best friends a guy could ask for.” You see, my friends know me. They know me well—well enough to allow me to be vulnerable around them, and well enough to allow four hilarious actors to celebrate these highs and lows of life with me.

My point is that life isn’t meant to be lived alone. Whether you’re married with kids, or single with friends, live life to the fullest. Live, laugh, love, and allow yourself to be vulnerable. You’d be surprised how freeing it can be. Thanks guys, y’all are the best!