I will never understand why people love screaming that they’re successful while simultaneously omitting their struggle. I could NEVER act like my troubles didn’t exist; they are what made me who I am, and they are what will make me a living testament to what faith and a relentless work ethic can create. And what is this ego thing about? Everybody is talking about how they did everything by themselves, and are self-made. How is that possible? We all need help at some point; elevation doesn’t involve just one person.
From ages 12-14 I lived in a variety of hotels, and when I wasn’t in those I was crashing at a friend’s house. By age 16 I had moved back to East Orange and commuted to Plainsboro, NJ every day for school. I played soccer for my school team as well as my club team, and if it weren’t for a handful of generous, compassionate, and loving individuals, I probably would’ve dropped out of school and DEFINITELY would not have been able to play soccer.
The family of one of my high school teammate’s (The Carlen’s) opened up their home to me my junior year. I stayed with them part-time that year, and moved in with them senior year. Although I felt completely out of place the whole entire time, they always did their best to make me feel at home; I mean they seriously went above and beyond. Then, since my parents could no longer afford my club team dues, the parents on that team allowed the club to use some of its scholarship fund money to pay for the rest of my high school career. My club coach even picked me up from the Carlen’s home sometimes, just so I could make practice.
You see, I was a D1 recruit in high school, but what did that matter if I didn’t have a roof over my head? What did that matter if I couldn’t afford to stay on the one team that served as the source of my recruitment? Nothing. But I made it. Why? Because I had people pulling for me, always: guidance counselors, my principal and my assistant principals, teachers, my friends, my teammates. When I got offered scholarships, they weren’t because of me, they were because of every single person who helped make those opportunities possible.
I am forever indebted to every single person who gave me shelter and financial assistance and allowed me to be a part of endeavors that seemed out of reach: my senior trip to Disney World, prom, graduation, continuing to play the game that I love. I had the greatest people around me for the worst years of my life, and when I get to the level I want to be at, there will be no amnesia. I will still remember every single name and face and repay them for all that they did.
Raw photo shot by Collis Torrington.