This I Believe

Retavious - houston, Texas
Entered on December 4, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30

Devastating, sad, wrong and lonely! These are the words that describe my life. Growing up on the south side of Houston, TX was very hard. My brother and I were abandoned by my mother, who let drugs take over her life and responsibilities, dumping us in the hands of other relatives who were no better than she was. Being raised by our aunt who was always working to support three kids of her own plus my brother and I, was not the life we expected. My brother and I were really on our own. In other words I was really being raised by a seven year old, my brother. I was learning everything there was about survival from where we stayed at, but I could not do too much at the age of three. So I pick up a basketball and started to do something constructive with my life.

Playing basketball really created a well rounded young man out of me. Using the things that I learned growing up helped me go further with this sport. Until, my brother got into some trouble and got sent to jail. I was on my own, not knowing what to do I gave up basketball and started hanging around with the drug dealers and crack heads of that disturbing neighborhood. My aunt got upset and came and got me and sent me away to go and stay with my father who lives on the north side of Houston, TX. Being from the south side of Houston I got treated differently from those who are originally from there. I got into fights every other day at school over conflicts about my mother and got arrested. Things continued to happen until my father sat me down and told me to not worry about what people said. But what if they are talking about my mother I asked. My father asked, “While you were on the south side what did you do to take your mind off of your mother and the things she did?” I said, “Basketball took my mind off of her, the things she did and where I was.” So he thought, “Why don’t you go out for sports then?” I will help you any way that I can, he said. Being the person that I am, I leaped at the opportunity to play basketball.

One day, while looking through the television I saw a commercial about an organization called the Y.M.C.A. This organization was built to show young kids how to become better people in life. By offering sports for all ages, it showed the kids respect, discipline, and manners to make it in the real world. By playing sport for them they help me to become a lot better student in school and a better athlete. Now, thanks to the Y.M.C.A I am in college, becoming a better person than I was when I was little. I am not on a scholarship but with the determination and the drive I have learned from growing up I will achieve my goal.