This I Believe

John - Bronx, New York
Entered on September 6, 2007

It’s hard to imagine the idea that someone could have a hard time believing in something. Sure there are a number of beliefs I have that can be considered political or religious but I wanted to discuss something personal I believe in. I was discussing the assignment with one of my good friends and realized that was what I believed in. The most important thing in my life is my friends and I have come to learn that the power of friendship is what I believe in.

One thing I have come to learn is that friendship can never be taken for granted. Friends are a standard; everyone has them. That is not always the case. Imagine a situation where you really had no one to turn to and no one to spend time with. I was there. It seems impossible but it wasn’t. I go back to a time entering high school. I grew up with a great group of guys and we were all pretty tight but with high school approaching and most of us attending different institutions, it seemed natural that our time was winding down. We all looked forward to the new challenge, with forward being the operative word. So I was introduced to high school before I ever entered a classroom by playing football. Growing up my father talked a lot about his experience playing football, so I felt this would be the chance to experience some of those stories firsthand. That wasn’t the case. I had some deplorable coaches who were just out of college and couldn’t instruct properly. Now being a big guy as I was at the time, I stand out. This led to humiliation at the hands of my teammates and coaches to the point where no one affiliated with the team or the school would be apart of my life unless it was during school and practice. I don’t quit anything so this abuse continued. As I had said my friends were off making new friends and enjoying their experiences at their new schools so I really had no one to help out of the “funk” I was going through. I spent some time with them but the anger I had inside of me came out negatively and I abandoned them as well. I was “in the pits.” Everything was spiraling out of control. That’s when I decided I needed to kill myself. I decided it was time to get rid of all of my pain in the most destructive manner possible. But my parents knew something was terribly wrong. Before I did anything drastic, I took some sort of control of myself. Through these experiences I was obviously very depressed and went through rigorous therapy sessions to try and mend the bridges I had broken as well as prepare myself to cross new ones that ultimately would be there for me to cross. When someone feels they cannot trust anyone besides their parents in life, it takes a lot of work and courage to begin to not just find trust in individuals but find those individuals to trust. I found them in a pair of unlikely comrades.

I knew football wasn’t over for me. My love for sports grew while I was depressed because it was one of the things I could wrap myself in to eliminate the world I was living in. I knew I would play again. After not playing for season to take care of my illness, I came back with a mission and there were two individuals who helped me. Working out in preparation for the upcoming season, I worked with two of my teammates Tyler and Nicholas, better known to me today as “Fondo”. They didn’t see the person who was run into the dirt freshman year. They saw a teammate, another kid working to make a difference on the field. In them I saw the first couple of individuals I could trust and consider to be good friends in a very long time. But when we were away from the weights or the field I needed people to be with. I was feeling strong coming off a year and a half of spending time with my football buddies when one night I received an instant message from one of my old friends Carmine inviting me over to his house. Now I said some very profound things to most of there people as my depression began and getting a chance at redemption taught me that they were forgiving for their actions and that the bond we developed many years earlier was as strong as it is to this very day.