A Memoir to Remember

June 5, 2012
By Malik Lee BRONZE, Chicago, Illinois
Malik Lee BRONZE, Chicago, Illinois
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

I am Malik, a student athlete born February 22, 1995 to Aaron and Angela, I was their third child. I have a brother that is 6 years older than me and a sister that is 3 years older than me. Though I have a brother and sister, most of my life memories are with my three cousins who are closer to my age. We all live under the same roof in our two story house. Upstairs is my grandmother and four cousins and downstairs it my mom, brother, sister, and me. I have been to numerous schools over my pass years, all which were Catholic schools. My earlier years before elementary school and also during elementary school, my cousins and I attended the YMCA youth program. I attended this program from when I was in pre-school until I reached the fifth grade.

There, I would do anything from playing games to homework. I learned to communicate with others and make friends. At the YMCA is where I would discover my love for playing basketball and sports in general. This program was called School-Age. School-Age was only from the time your school got out until 6:00pm, but from 8am to 4am during the summer. Some of the things we did that I'll never forget are: swimming, we played basketball, field trips to museums and zoos, many group activities, and just walks outdoor. One of my favorite group activities was when groups had to put together a puzzle that had as much as a thousand pieces and which ever group put it together the fastest received an award and in some cases just bragging rights. It was a lot of fun doing activities like this. It build character and communication skills. I mention School-Age because though I spent most of my life in school, I remember the program more vividly and realize these times are cherished. After I reached the fifth grade and moved on to what had become the fourth grammar school I attended, I made new friends once again. I made the basketball team with no problem, well I made them all since the third grade. I was always the athletic type, always jumping, running, and always had the most amount of energy. Everyone then and still now called me a “hype”.

I was getting older and leaving elementary school forever and glad I was, but I knew I would be entering another world. Where I came from the schools weren't big, but as we get older I know now they get bigger and bigger. This new world and this bigger building of educational purposes would be High School. Again, I would meet new people and make new friends, experience new things, and accept new responsibilities that I wasn't used to. Freshmen year had to be one of the toughest years of my life that I had ever faced. I was growing physically, spiritually, and mentally. It was all overwhelming. This phase in my life is when I identified who I was and what I wanted to be. I became a new person. Like people say, “get in touch with your inner self”, that's what exactly I did. I never really liked school, but I like to learn new things. I would tell myself that I have to do this and that in order to become something and it has helped me to get up and go to school no matter what. It got to times where I was getting home from practice late and then I would have to do homework and was going to sleep at 12pm every night and waking up at 6am just to repeat my dreadful day all over again.

Furthermore, it was high school I became more focused in life. We all talk down on how much school is a waste of time, but it does have its highlights. I at least give it credit for the preparation and workloads it enforces on us to be ready for the corporate world. Anyway, I entered high school playing basketball and ran track after the season was over. Basketball was my first love, but we fell out of it and I made track my main sport, I was better in it too. Running gave me a new outlook on life and it physiologically, spiritually, and mentally changed me because it's me versus myself. It strengthens me both mentally and physically. Just not too long ago the track team I went down state. It was time to put all of my hard work and training to the ultimate test of the season. I made it to the finals after prelims the day before just by what was not even a second. The gun went off and we were all off, seeing who was going to take lead. I was in the lead for maybe 3 seconds, but then everyone began to rush ahead faster. This is the 800m run, two laps around and it is three-fourths to go. By time we hit the first lap I am in way in the back just pacing myself hoping I would have great kick for the last 200m to go, hoping I can somehow fly to the finish line. Coming up on the last 200m I try to pick it up, they are still further ahead. As I began to sprint and they do the same. I began to think they are too far ahead and I will come in at dead last. I keep moving ahead though keeping in mind that I have a great kick. I catch one guy and it now racing for 11th place. I pass him up and I fight harder, I began to fly. These wings though appear only when there is 40 meters left, but I move faster and as I near the finish line I leaned in and beat the 10th place runner by a centimeter. I finished in ninth place. I wasn’t first, second, or third, but this placement was the last place in order to receive a medal. Yes of course it would’ve been better in first place, but I never even gotten this far. Running track instilled the ideology of what is achievable and what the feeling of progression and success feels like I was proud and figured I would keep working hard. I knew this would be something I always will remember.

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