What Makes a Man

November 25, 2011
Martin Luther King Jr. once said “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at time of challenge and controversy.” Any man can succeed when no adversity is present, but only the best can make it through the tough times. It takes a real man to carry all his troubles on his back and still persevere to the finish line, and I have done just that. I’ve faced 17 years of trials and tribulations, ups and downs, and devastating moments that will affect me for the rest of my life. Even though I’ve been tested and stopped along the way, I fully intend on finishing this race. From the very beginning of my life, all I can remember is bad things always happening to me. I was bullied at school, I didn’t have many friends, and my parents would constantly fight around the house. One night my mom and dad had gone at it hard and I crawled into my bed crying. I woke up in the middle of the night after I heard a noise, and opened the door to my parent’s bedroom where I saw my father trembling with blood spewing out of his mouth, and my mother crying in panic; he had a seizure in his sleep. This was the night my father was diagnosed with brain cancer; I was 5 years old. I witnessed plenty more disturbing images like this for the next 2 years of my father’s fight against cancer until he died on October 14, 2002. I was never the same from this day on. I had been exposed to the evils of this cruel world and lost that childhood innocence that all parents expect their children to have. Years went by as if they were days, and before I noticed it, my childhood was gone. I had to learn how to play sports, make friends, and defend myself in this cold world without the one person who could have helped me out the most: my father. He told me a story before he died about two mice who got stuck in a bucket of cream; one quickly gave up and drowned, while the other struggled so hard he eventually churned the cream into butter and crawled out. After my father’s death, I felt like I was trapped in a bucket of cream like those mice; but after years of struggling and fighting to get out, I too escaped. Life is no walk in the park. It constantly challenges you day in and day out exhausting you to the point where you want to give up. I refused to give up. I fought through the pain, worked hard in school, tried my best on the field, and bettered myself as a student, athlete, and person to make my father proud. In my short span of life so far, I can say that I truly am a man.

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