Boyhood dreams are born on blacktop courts, uneven driveways and backyard fields where the grass is worn thin.
And they share a common thread.
You hit the game-winning shot. You deliver the walk-off home run. You become the hero. You hear the roar of the crowd.
Blaze Murfin had that dream, too.
"It's weird. Throwing is like that for me," said Murfin, a Dallas City, Ill., native who is a graduate of Illini West High School and a junior thrower for the University of Dubuque track and field team. "It's being down big and just sending one home."
Ranked second in the shot put behind University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire's David Kornack heading to La Crosse, Wis., for the NCAA Division III Outdoor Track and Field Championships, Murfin believed he could deliver that one big throw. He simply hadn't done it yet.
"We had been saying all season long that we were close," Murfin said. "We were really close to hitting a big one. Everyone says that, but I felt I was getting really close. I wasn't completely there yet."
But he was determined to be completely prepared.
"For me, it was sticking with the training," Murfin said. "Trusting it, trusting it, trusting it."
It set him up for something spectacular.
On the first day of the three-day championships, which were held May 24-26, Murfin competed in the discus. He had finished 18th in the discus as a freshman and entered the event ranked 12th nationally with a season-best throw of 164 feet, 8 inches.
"I was just wanting to make the finals, maybe make the podium," Murfin said.
He did so much more. On his second attempt, he set a personal record and new school record with a throw of 175-7. It vaulted him into the lead.
"I wasn't expecting to do that at all," said Murfin, who ending up finishing third.
What he did the next day defied expectations, too.
On his first of six attempts in the shot put, Murfin set a PR with a toss of 57-1. After two sub-par attempts, Murfin cleared the 18-meter barrier for the first time in his career, tossing the shot 59-5 to join Kornack as the only throwers in he field to top 56 feet.
The next throw made him a champion.
Murfin launched a throw of 61-1, beating Kornack by roughly 5 inches and fulling the dream he's always had.
"It's exactly how I imagined it," he said.
The moment the shot left his hand, he knew it.
"I've had two throws in my life that have felt like that, that have felt that good," Murfin said. "It's effortless. It just leaves your hand. As soon as it left my hand, I was like, 'Oh, man.' I didn't even feel it leave my hand. I kind of caught it out of the corner of my eye and I followed the 18-meter line. It went a ways past it and I was like, 'Oh, crap, that might be the lead.'"
It was the lead. It was the national championship. It was more incredible that he ever imagined.
"I was in total disbelief of what was happening," Murfin said.
There are times it's still awe-inspiring.
"It's been incredible," Murfin said.
And it's not over.
Although he completed his undergraduate degree in three years and is spending his summer as a flight instructor -- Murfin has his pilot's license and plans to fly commercial aircraft someday -- he will return for his final year of eligibility as a graduate student.
"The success leaves me satisfied, but I'm also really hungry to get back to work," Murfin said. "My goal is not completed yet."
He wants to bring a team title to Dubuque.
"To be a part of that would be amazing," Murfin said. "My goal has been to bring a trophy here by the time I leave."
That would make the dream complete.