Byron Blockman

April 30, 2018
By Anonymous

Deep in the heart of the projects of Chicago a man is fighting. Fighting for his life, the life of his family, and his future. Byron Blockman is only 18 years old, only considered a boy in most places. But here in the project's life happens fast. At 18 years old he’s already seen and heard more than most men ever will. He’s seen more guns than most warlords, he’s seen junkies do hard narcotics in front of him since the day he was born. Heck, his mother was one of them. Your average drug addict turned prostitute. Like most kids he didn’t grow up with his parents. His father left as soon as his mom got pregnant and never came back.He could have fell into the cycle of crime and negativity that keep the projects going. To cope with the pain of the loss and the prospect of raising a child alone, his mother began smoking copious amounts of marijuana. That eventually turned into a cocaine addiction and thus, another crack baby was born. Just like most inner-city babies from the 80’s.
Byron was a great kid. Raised on the doorstep of the church as they say. He would attend church more then the priest it seemed. Nanny May raised him from the day he was born and treated him like one of her own children. She was a vehement follower of the Lord and made sure to instill those ideals on to Byron. Though he did occasionally stray, Byron stayed on the straight and narrow. They lived in a 3 bedroom apartment on the southside of Chicago. His youngest sister, Tatia, was 6 years old and slept with Nanny in her room. Byron shared a bed with his younger brother, Bruce. Tatia was still too young and innocent to realize the problems in her neighborhood. Bruce was very similar to Byron, but he played basketball instead of boxing. As a family they got along very well, Byron tried to be the best possible influence for his brother and sister. He had no choice but to step into the role after his older brother was shot in a drive-by.
As a senior at Harper High School Byron had a lot on his plate. He was never the sharpest knife in the drawer, but he performed to the best of his ability in every class. Some kids would make fun of him for being so studious, but he didn’t care. He knew he was destined to be better than what was around him so he continued to grind. Every day after school, Byron made the 6 block trek down to the local boxing gym. He was a regular there and despite his size he showed the most promise as a professional boxer.
The gym wasn’t the nicest. Padding and comfort were two words that were completely foreign in this gym. Everything in the gym was rough, from the chairs, to the weights, to the men that frequented the place. Byron would destroy any of the men that came into that gym, his large hands pummeling anything in their path with no mercy at all. But, he also spent time helping the younger patrons of the gym. There was Deron, an eighth grader with the heart of a lion. He had already been arrested three times before he realized that would put him on the same path as his father, a career criminal, in and out of jail more than the guards. Byron saw promise in the young one. Every day he would do drills with Deron, spar with him, even help him with his homework. Byron did everything in his power to help Deron because he knew that Deron had the ability to get out. That’s what their whole lifes circled around, getting out of the hood. Byron had committed to a college in Michigan to continue his boxing career, everyone in the hood seemed to be proud of him, but still there were haters. Some of the local gangs would mess with Byron because of his success. They weren’t able to get out of the hood and they were enraged because they knew that their lives would amount to nothing. Byron, being good natured would always try to help them channel their anger into something productive, but they would rather hustle and steal than make an honest living. After the daily bullying Byron would return to his home. His grandmother would greet him with a hug and a smile, her pride was palpable. Then Byron would help his little brother and sister with their homework. His day complete Byron would flop into his hard bed and get ready to do the same thing the very next day.

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