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Being doubted can be one of the most detrimental cases when it comes to athletes. Kids always trying to please parents, trying to excel in their respected sport, and in some cases get their family out of their current situation and into a better one.
But one thing that I personally had to experience is being overlooked because of my weight. Now people might say that it shouldnt matter what people think, but as a 13-year-old being doubted and overlooked has had a negative effect on me. I did commit the mistake of letting those people dictate my future.
I was entering high school at about 5'9 275 pounds, I was definitely big for my age. Of course when people see a kid that size they are aimed towards being a football player. Me being me and having a love for all sports, I decided to join football. Season went on and eventually lost in the regional semi-finals. After the season I was in better shape at about 255 pounds and desired in being in even better shape. Of course I wanted to pursue my true love in sports, basketball—and that is when it all started.
Tryouts are less than a week away and I am working hard to get my conditioning better. As I was in gym class, we were running laps. I remember seeing my football coach talking to the gym teacher. As I came around to finish my lap, my coach says "You hear he is trying out for basketball?"
Gym teacher responds, "Who?" Football coach looks straight at me. They start laughing and proceed to say he can't even play basketball, he doesn't know how to, he cant even run.
How the hell do these people even know what I can and can't do I thought to myself. The rumor went on and soon most of these teachers/coaches were all saying the same thing. Damn, what happened to being supportive. Even if I didn't make the team, if I have a desire to get in better shape why not help?
I never went to the tryout...
I lost motivation. I lost hope. I hated myself. I hated everyone who doubted me. Come sophomore year, I gained weight to 308 pounds and grew to six feet. I came in thinking to myself I was going to prove a point. My point was to show that they needed me on the football team, but didn't want to be part of it. I came into training camp, and was abusing the varsity players. After praising me, I told them I no longer want to be part of the team and will be transferring after this year. Football was not my love.
I transferred schools and did not pursue football. I was only interested in basketball. Of course I was still out of shape and that was my own fault. At that time, I didn't have anyone to guide me. I didn't understand that losing weight and being fit didn't just mean going to the gym. It was nutrition, exercise, sleep and everything else. Long story short, I went to the tryout this time. Tryouts were two days in a row. After the first day, it happened again.
"You shouldn't be here. It's not fair to these other guys. You shouldn't come to the second day." - Head Coach
At that time I was all alone. Didn't have no one to talk to. Didn't have the courage to tell my dad. Just stuck to myself. Little do all these people know, is that I have been playing pickup games with the players from years before and was killing them.
I always knew I had the talent and desire to excel in basketball. Although I was bigger than normal weight wise. Weight can be lost and thats something these coaches never understood. I just needed the guidance.
Long story short, I went onto college, walked on and made the team. I will be posting stories about the college experience in another post.
To any readers that know someone or are personally going through a similar experience, please be a helping and supportive hand. Even though they can or are not good at a sport, maybe they just want a person to work out with. They need guidance.
To any coaches, never doubt anyone because of appearance. Do not make a person lose their confidence. Be supportive.
"Never get mad at a person's decision or remark, make them regret it."