"With the right coaching, you can gain the right perspective."
As an adolescent, I embodied the stereotypical persona of being a product of my environment. It wasn't something I grew out of, it was a decision I made when I turned 15-years-old when I met a coach. With very few positive role models, I longed for positive leadership from the community I grew up around in Staten Island, NY.
With very limited interactions with positive older men, I had my first encounter with someone relatable through a high school basketball program, the CSI/Mccown Dragons. Crossing paths with him not only set me on path for success, but changed my view on how I saw myself as a future positive leader within the community.
Numbers speak for themselves
STUDENT-athlete not athlete-student. I had it backwards as I looked at myself as an athlete more than I did a student.
Statistics shows that 40% of the prison population consist of black males. It coincides with the statistics that show young black males accounting for 40% of all in school suspensions within the school districts nation wide. The 'school-to-prison' pipeline dilemma could not be clearer.
I barely escaped that statistic of being a juvenile teenager as I lacked proper guidance.
(Chapter 6: Dark Leadership https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5P-2L1Gbo7w&t=33s)
Then God provided a bridge. The bridge between the juvenile teen I attempted to be and the student-athlete I was becoming was through a basketball coach.
The Uphill Battle
The transition of the juvenile kid turned athlete was my biggest struggle in high school.
Walking up the hill of Gaynor Mccown High school for four years, did more than make my legs strong, it introduced me to something greater. It was an uphill battle to view myself as more than athlete. Ironically, the university I attended in Michigan was also located on the top of a hill.
It created a sweat equity. Even though walking up the hill everyday before school was physically exhausting, the thought of a playing basketball and my coach's belief in me was the motivating to keep me going. (#BeYourOwnHero #Chapter9TrustTheProcess).
Belief in oneself
“Seeing an example of someone believing in you when you do not yet believe in yourself shows the possibility of one day believing in myself."
The easy thing is to look at the hills and complain about walking up it every day. It does not change the fact that you need to walk it in order to reach your goal. Your goal could be school, a healthy relationship, financial freedom, or getting to work on time. Either way, the top of one hill is just the bottom of another hill.
American Best Book Award Results: http://www.americanbookfest.com/nonfictionbooks/youngadultnonfic.html
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