My early years of school were not ideal. Mom was a single parent, and she joined the US Army when I was very young. I lived with my grandparents until mom married and then I joined her in Germany.
Even after her marriage, mom carried the bulk of the load and was unhappy most of the time. Oft times I felt very sad for her and sad for myself. It was not long before her marriage ended in a divorce.
Life became more and more of a struggle for me — “ school became overwhelming. I did practically everything for myself. With mom reporting to duty each day and having to go to the field, I had very little help with homework or building study habits.
I had no stability in my life. After receiving a Medical Discharge from the army due to an injured knee my mom and I moved to Clarksville, Tennessee. Every couple of years, thereafter, we relocated from state to state.
I was continuously moving from one school to another. My grades were drastically dropping — “ I lost almost all interest in school. Second semester of my sophomore year grandma and grandpa persuaded mom to let me move to Virginia to live with them and finish high school.
Having to relocate again in the middle of my sophomore year was another big adjustment. I did not want to move. I fought it, but I had no choice — “ not even a choice in what high school I would attend.
In October of my junior year grandpa took me to Cleveland, Ohio, to see the Cleveland Browns play the New York Jets. In the midst of this cold, bone-chilling day, we headed to the stadium. As we walked inside I was overwhelmed by the size — “ it was so much larger than I had imagined.
The seating attendant looked at our tickets and led us to our seats. We had 2nd row seats on the 10 yard line. We were so close to the field that we could actually reach out and touch the players.It was mind-boggling as I took my seat and glanced over the stadium — “ people of so many origins, personalities, and nationalities.
I felt as if I was living a fantasy.Suddenly the crowd went into an uproar as the two teams came rushing across the stadium grounds. The ‘NEW YORK JETS’ in their green and white uniforms came out first. There was lots of applauding, as well as, lots of rude boos. Then out came the home team — “ ‘CLEVELAND BROWNS’ in their orange and brown — “ applauding surrounded the stadium.The Browns started the game with a kick off to the Jets. I was amazed at the size of those guys. They looked like ‘giants’ out there. They were so fast on their feet. I sensed a real closeness among the players. I thought to myself, ‘It is such a different world watching a football game live than watching it on television.’
The Browns held on to get a 20-13 win — their second win of the year. The fans went into the biggest uproar ever — “ you could not have heard a bomb drop at that point. As I stood up and began to move with the crowd — “ heading out of the stadium thoughts began rushing through my head — “ ‘If I work harder in school and pursue a college education, I can be successful — “ it is not too late. I will just have to work hard. Without hard work in school and college, neither of these guys would be playing football here today. Playing football is the creation of teamwork, confidence, and good sportsmanship.’ I made a commitment that in my senior year; I would play football — “ something that I had never done. I would strive to work harder in school and be the best that I can be. I left that football game feeling like a whole new world had opened up to me. I am now truly committed to my school work — “ working towards higher grades. I am playing football — “ wide receiver — “ and love it!
The first time I ran out on the football field — “ playing my first game, I felt as if I was running on a cloud. It was a sensation that I had never experienced. I thought about My Most Memorable Experience — “ The Browns verses The Jets. I knew that I was getting only a taste of what those guys felt on that cold day in October.
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