The Poor Sport

December 4, 2010
By Anonymous

The names that get thrown at us hurt as we dribble up the court. The snarls and the murmurs insult our every move as we reach for the rebound. The stadium is packed with those who feel obligated to stare at us through their sunglasses as if there was nothing but color that represented who we are. We play the poor sport. Our courts are filled with chalk drawings and graffiti. Our basketballs are indented as if they too have been hurled into walls and hit with hurtful words. We play the poor sport of basketball. Through the fences, that the whites mistake for a black prison, the eyes of those on the other side mirror their disapproval of our freedom. The fence is the unfinished wall that has yet to be pushed over. But we can't and we won't. Because if we were to do such a thing, who would be the superior? And who would be the dirt for the higher powers to proudly walk on?

All my life I've played the poor sport. Exiting from the public bathrooms with the sign of a black stick figure on the front door, I hear the older women whispered to one another loud enough for me to hear "he plays the poor sport." I shrug it off but my eardrums ring with an indescribable sensation that I continue to feel as a place my head down on the pillow at night. From the age of eight to my adolescent years, the women sit on the wood-paneled bench with a visual sign indicating the bench's color policy, with hatred in their burning eyes as if I deserved to be locked up for my color. Each evening as I passed this cornerstone of my life my nostrils flared to keep my face straight and under control as not give them the satisfaction of seeing a black boy cry.

I didn't want to play this "poor sport." I didn't want to have the gawking white students point and snickered over our ripped, rugged jerseys. I didn't want to play basketball because I was suppose to or stereotyped to. There were so many "didn't wants" and "why can'ts" in my life. I have a voice as Truman desegregated the army, I have a voice as Johnson signed the civil rights laws, and I have a beautiful, bold, color-less voice. What many whites do not understand is that sounds are not colored. They are an air from deep within the heart, urging to be heard.

My concentration is interrupted by a pat of a hand from behind. "Excuse," persisted a young boy from below "can I have your autograph?" "Poor sport," I thought as I signed my name with a black-inked pen. As the words soaked into the page, the ink ran deeper and deeper until a mark was made on the white pages below.

The author's comments:
While learning about slavery during history class, I was appalled by the terrible treatment people received because of their skin color. Through my story, I hope to portray the feelings of pain that were once present during the civil rights era but also the process in which we have and the open-minded community we have formed through the years. I hope this essay will establish both hope for the up and coming future.

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