“Black Boy Fly”

I used to be jealous of my best friends. I used to be jealous of my best friends. Don’t get me wrong we were tight, an unbreakable bond at the time. We were so different in thought and maturity but they had all the juice so I followed their lead. You know that feeling when you know there is something in you that says, “nah bruh, this ain’t you”, well I suppressed that notion constantly throughout my childhood. It wasn’t until high school that I realized I didn’t have to wear my jeans 2 sizes too big with basketball shorts underneath with WHITE Air Force Ones to be myself. I didn’t need to have carbon copy pickup lines to gain the attention of the girls in my class. The biggest lesson I learned was I just had to be me, a young black boy destined to fly.

I used to be jealous of my teammates. I used to be jealous of my teammates. Don’t get me wrong, I respected their hard work and effort matched with god given unnatural ability. I just wished that God has blessed me to be 6’3″ 250lbs with 4.4 forty yard dash speed. Do you know what I would have been able to do with that! I had plenty of teammates go on to play in the NFL and for the longest I envied them. I envied their potential, the adoration they received, the perks, the compliments, the scholarships…. While I, the “well respected walk-on” scrapped for the remains. I’ll never forget the day it all changed. The day my world changed from “Ball is life” to “Life after ball”. An older, wiser, grey haired, slightly balding, black man told me, “Son you are different, and you don’t even know it. You walk around here every day, head down, eyes on your work, yes sir, no sir… a hard worker. But the difference between you and 95% of the guys that walk around here, you play because you want to, they play because they have to….” That conversation was in 2014. In January of 2015, I no longer wanted to…Football had been my escape for 10+ years and all of a sudden it had become the very thing holding me captive. To this day, I say thank you to that wise man, you helped me learn to fly.

Its 2017 and I’m watching them win the natty. I wish I could tell you I miss it. I wish I could tell you that I became a statistic. I wish I could tell you that the once 10 year old chubby boy from Sumter, SC did as the critcs against him predicted he would.

“If we allow him to be promoted now, he will slack off in high school and he will never make it in college” –Elementary Administrator

“I don’t know why you out there running sprints in that heat, you ain’t gonna play for Clemson”. — High school teammate

The only reason you get the great opportunities you get is because of your parents… that’s all.” — Ex girlfriend

You won’t be competitive for medical programs at that GPA, you need to get another degree in the sciences. You definitely won’t be able to get in with your performance in Organic — College Advisor

Smile…. There has been plenty of uncertainty in my life. We all have it. Sure there were times when I didn’t feel good enough, perform well enough, look attractive enough. But you know what, I’ll be damned if I let someone else tell me what my life will be. So to those critics my mama always said that I hear, but I don’t listen… watch that black boy fly…

Congratulations! I am delighted to share your official acceptance letter into the Class of 2022 at _____ College of Medicine. — Admissions Committee

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