On behalf of my group for this assignment, I’m going to tell you a story about how having a mentor has changed my life for the better. For most of my life I have been a part of some type of sports team whether it was playing soccer, baseball, basketball or football. My mentor in my life has always been my father. He introduced me to everything I know about sports and competition. It was also the same for my sister, who was four years older than me. Growing up, I would always want to go to my sisters’ practices, games and tournaments with my father, and he would teach me all of the ins and outs of the game. His mantra was, and still is always, “If you fail to prepare, then prepare to fail.” My father instilled that in our minds from when we were very young. Entering high school, my goal was always to become a multi-sport division one athlete, and it was something that I thought and dreamed about every day. Then the adversity started to kick in.
During my freshman year of high school, I had to give up the very sport that I had viewed as my first love. I had to quit basketball due to compounding knee injuries in order to keep myself healthy for football and baseball, two sports which limited the injuries I could potentially get. In football I played quarterback who doesn’t take a lot of hits, and baseball isn’t a contact sport so it was safe for me to play. This was one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make because ever since I was born I can remember me having a basketball in hand. It was a sport that meant a lot to my family, including my sister who went on to play D-1 basketball. Instead of dwelling on my injury, the person who was there for me was my dad. He was there for me almost as personal trainer for me during high school. After he got off work, he would still have the energy to not only take me to gym to work out, but he would research specific exercises for me to do, and he would do them with me.
Fast forward a few years and I am now a senior in high school. Throughout all of the summers of high school, my dad would pay for me to play on some of the best teams in the area for baseball, and sending me to football camps costing him thousands of dollars, hoping that it would pay off in a college scholarship. I was working day by day to improve my game as best as possible to get my chance. My chance came when a small school in Lewiston, Maine came calling. It was the prestigious Bates College and their football coaching staff had a ton of interest in me. It was a no brainer that this was the school for me. Then more adversity struck. I had committed to attending the university and the coaches were ready to bring a potential starter into their program, but their admissions board had different ideas. I had gotten rejected to go to the university although I had done what I needed in the classroom to succeed. Since Bates is a near Ivy-League school, their standards were just too high to admit a student who had an overall high school GPA of 3.6. At this moment, I don’t think I’ve ever been more defeated in my life. Until about a year later. Now you might be asking, how did I end up at Temple? Temple was also one of the schools who recruited me as well, so I decided to go to Temple (honestly as a last case scenario) to play football for a year and possibly transfer to another school. Well, another school came calling as well after my freshman year of college. It was Amherst College, a school similar to Bates, with a need for a quarterback. Amherst may have recruited me harder than Bates. I committed and planned on transferring there, and I applied for the school only to get rejected again. Now my college grades were not up to par with another near Ivy-League program.
At this point in my life, it was time to hang up the cleats for good, and stick to academics. I didn’t want to be a professional in any of the sports that I played so it was not imperative for me to play sports especially since no schools showed any interest anymore. I began to go into a state of depression, having dark and suicidal thoughts at times while also developing a drinking problem during the summer of my freshman year of college. I came hard on myself especially because it was always my dream to become a college player. I felt like I had let down myself and my most importantly, my father. At times I still dwell on what I could have done differently in order for me to achieve my goals and satisfy my mentor, my father. Why I respect my father so much as a mentor is because he had always stuck with me through the tough times and gave his support for me. Why I wanted to work with Big Brothers Big Sisters is because I want to tell my story to kids so they don’t take anything for granted growing up. I want to tell adolescents my story in order to inspire children that no matter what adversity strikes, you can always bounce back and make the most out of any situation. Today I am junior hoping to graduate college in entrepreneurship in order to start my own business to help children progress in not only sports, but in academics as well. My story will tell kids that academics is one of the most important aspects in anyone’s life and that it needs to be taken seriously.