Working in the situations that we do and seeing struggles and setbacks with the children we work with, I can honestly say I get very excited when I see accomplishment. Before I tell you what this accomplishment is, first let me tell you that before it was achieved, this 10 year old boy was very reserved, timid and totally lacked confidence; he looked totally out of place on the field with the team. You would have thought that he would have been a much better water boy than a football player.
Many of the Children we work with are not very coordinated, they are awkward and often kind of dorky, even the kids that act like tough guys. I can honestly say that in the years I have been a houseparent very few of the kids I have worked with have been very athletic and Johnny(not his real name) is no different. The last two months have been somewhat torturous watching him get knocked around the field, being harassed by the other boys for not being very good, and basically just looking lost. I stopped bringing my camcorder, because I didn’t want to subject him to future torment by having to watch it over again.
Tonight, one single event changed everything. Johnny got his first tackle. A very small and for most people an insignificant event, something that happens many times during a single game. But for Johnny it was huge. He suddenly had confidence, while his team congratulated him slapping him on his helmet and giving him high fives, and I think the coach hugged him. For the remainder of the game he hustled like he never had before, he was motivated, and he was excited. For me, his change made me proud and honored to be a part of it.
His confidence continued after the game and he came home with pride I have rarely seen in him. And though you may say “NO Big Deal”, I say this is one accomplishment that will be combined with many that will shape his life and make him who he will be. The Grand Canyon was not created in a day and neither is a man. Johnny will probably never be a professional football player but tonight, he was an all-star to me. Congratulations Johnny (Not your real name)!!!!!