Soon enough, Travis and his older sister, Jacqueline, were ricocheting around the globe, from Jordan to Egypt to South Africa back to Jordan to India, and as her son grew up and took to sports – basketball, soccer, cricket – Celeste marveled at the difference between her childhood and his. She would take a school bus a few miles to one of her games. Travis would board a plane and fly to Lebanon or Syria for one of his.
“He was really shifting cultures, shifting languages, shifting religions,” Celeste said. “He and his sister always had each other. They were Americans by their passports, but they weren’t really Americans culturally because they hadn’t lived in the States. They’re kind of a blend of a whole bunch of different cultures now. When I listen to Jacqueline and Travis talk, they don’t get a lot of the American idioms or colloquialisms. But they might say something that’s India-based, and I just smile.”
Once he and his parents moved back to the States, Travis started playing football as a means to an end, to prepare himself better for basketball, transferring to Broad Run High School in Ashburn, Va., for his senior year. His coach there, Matt Griffis, called up a friend: Mike Zyskowski, who at the time was the special teams and running backs coach at Old Dominion.
I’ve got a kid for you, Griffis told Zyskowski, and he sent him video of Travis – more than 6 feet tall, wiry, leaping over defensive backs, dropping nothing.