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Greater than the Pain

Being quarantined has delayed my athletic training for my up and coming senior football season, my last opportunity to prove to myself and ours that I am a very skilled and a hard worker and that I can play at a high level. To me, playing football is very much like being a young black man in American. You know you’re going to get hit and going to get hurt but the reward is greater than the pain you felt previously. That’s why this season was very important to me. 

I started my football journey in the 8th grade at the Shabazz High School football field in Newark, NJ and traveled around during my high school seasons, coming back to play for Shabazz, thinking this was my last chance.  But now the fact that it might be taken away has made me reflect on chances I didn’t take that might have been better for me. 

I wanted to be able to put back on my football pants, lace up my cleats, put on my helmet and play my last full season of high school football. Therefore I could have peace knowing I accomplished what I wanted to the right way and maybe start off a career helping out young athletes and motivating people to take advantage of opportunities that they are very passionate about.

Being in quarantine due to the COVID-19 was very scary. It also had a big effect on my social life due to a majority of my friends being friends I socialized with in school. Not being able to see my friends or not knowing if I will ever play high school football again and finish out my high school career is disappointing to me and also puts a lot in perspective as far as taking advantage of all the opportunities that are given to me. I am hopeful but yet concerned. 

Being trapped in a house for a couple months has had a big effect on me. Being in the house for hours and unable to leave has put a lot of stress on me and my family. Being quarantined with four people – it felt like being in a jail cell but with electronics to ease us through it.

Taking a walk to the park past murals and being able to go to an open place and being able to breathe has definitely helped me. Some of the pictures I took of the murals express the mindset I am trying to attain during this pandemic with being at peace within myself and making sure I am at the right state of mind.

This mural is located in Newark, NJ, at Avon Elementary School. I walk past it every day. It represents brotherhood and helping one another out. It also represents having peace with one another and being at peace within yourself.