I was angry. All. The. Time. I was 13, a boy, and if there was one thing I’d learned, it was that it was better to be angry than scared. The thing was, it didn’t really work, I was still scared. All. The. Time. My mom was stressed out working two jobs, my older sister, who used to be like my best friend, couldn’t be bothered with me anymore since discovering boys and booze, and my dad, well, I hadn’t seen in years, which my mom said was a good thing.
For months, my sister’d been shipping me off to the Boys and Girls Club when she was supposed to be babysitting me. I hated it. I just wanted to be left alone. I had to PUSH BACK! So, I fought back.
I still remember that day, like it was yesterday, when “John”, one of the supervisors at the Boys and Girls Club talked to me about the Seadogs. He was the first grown up to actually talk to me like a real person, not some kid needing yet another time-out or suspension. I remember being embarrassed about never having gone to a game. But more so, I remember how much I wanted to play, but was too afraid to ask. There was no way we could afford it and we didn’t have a car, so I didn’t know how I’d get to practice anyway. Maybe that’s what I was really embarrassed about.
Somehow, John worked with my mom to make it happen! I started playing summer ball hockey, and in the fall, minor hockey. I made new friends, started doing better at school and stopped getting into trouble all the time. It just happened, I wasn’t ruled by my fear and anger any longer.
That was 6 years ago, and I’ll never forget what John did for me. I stopped in recently to the Club and John was there. We talked about girls, sports, losing weight. I told him about that awful night my sister OD’d. I also told him how sorry I was for all the trouble I’d caused – the bullying and the fights. But most importantly, I thanked him for all he did and for never giving up on me. Who knows, maybe John and I will even catch a Seadogs game together.
This is what BELIEVING IN YOURSELF looks like.
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