This I Believe
I believe that I shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. Sometimes people who seem rude or abrasive are dealing with worries and problems that I don’t see. I work in the sports section of the school paper and I enjoy getting to know the coaches and athletes I talk to for stories. Most are understanding of the media and are accommodating when it comes to giving their opinion on a personal performance or how the team played.
When covering my first football game, I traveled with the team for a game they had in Hawai’i and did several stories about the athletes while on the road. Catching up with the team after a practice I approached Sean Cooper, the running back who was leading the league in rushing.
“How do you feel about playing on the road?”
“Fine.” He said abruptly.
“Are you ready for the game on Saturday?” I asked fumbling with my recorder.
“Sure.” He said and pushed past me. I immediately labeled him as a jerk and went on to my next interview. After the game, I avoided him because I knew he didn’t want to talk and as he walked from the locker room he glared at me again. I pretended not to notice.
Waiting for our flight home I was sitting in the airport bar looking over some of the game photos. In the group was a great shot of this particular player. As soon as my beer arrived, who should walk in but the guy who had been rude to me. He immediately came over to my table and struck up a conversation. I asked if I could buy him a beer. While we were waiting I showed him the pictures and we started talking.
He sipped his beer and proceeded to tell me about living on a $500-a-month stipend while supporting his pregnant wife, and his one-year-old that had been diagnosed with a serious lifelong medical condition. I slowly realized that he wasn’t a jerk, just a guy who was being stretched to his breaking point between school, athletics and his home life. We ended up talking for an hour.
This made me think of times that I had been unfairly judged because I was having a bad day or said something that was taken out of context or misunderstood. I remembered how it made me feel to have someone draw a conclusion about what kind of person I was without having the whole story.
I believe you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, because sometimes if you take the time to look inside, you just may find an interesting and worthwhile read.
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