It was billed as “parent’s night” as we honored our eldest son’s requests to watch him wrestle in his varsity event. Wrestling is a challenging sport as one must constantly monitor the food intake and make sure that their weight remains in the qualified guidelines. Our eldest had worked hard to maintain his weight class and was in prime shape for the match. On several occasion our eldest almost “pinned” his opponent, only to witness the referee giving “slow-motion” counts that resulted in his opponent benefiting from the additional time to break loose before the final count. Then the opponent had our eldest pinned and the referee made a very fast count and our son lost the match. With enough shame and humiliation to last a life time our eldest cried within. He cried enough invisible tears to drown out his weeping soul.
I tried to explain to our son that in the game of life sometimes you will be the subject of a “fast count” or a “bad call” that can make the difference between the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. The next time our eldest wrestled the same opponent, he left him lying on the mat however “parent’s night” was long gone.
President Barack Obama stated that “it has been a challenging week” making reference the Boston Marathon Bombings and the tragic fire in West, Texas. I think most people would agree with the president’s statement about “the challenging week.” The week’s act of terrorism lead to an entire city being placed on lock down and the entire country tuned in as the moments and hours passed by so painfully and slowly. Efforts will now be made to find the answers to the age old questions of “who, “why” and “what” caused suspect #1 and suspect #2 to become the focal point that rallied America to a call of unity, specifically E PLURIBUS UNUM, or out of many comes one. There is something unique about adversity. It either makes you or breaks you and that can been seen on an individual basis or collectively as a nation.
This brings me back to our son and his encounters in the game of life. Being born black (or white, red, yellow or brown for that matter) does not insulate one from the bad calls from the referees of the world. The fast counts and the unfairness of life can often create a spark that turns into a raging fire. The ninety-nine percent after birth is generally given a pacifier immediately after their first cry and not a “silver spoon.” The invisible tears that water the weeping soul many time spring forth from the “end-of -me (enemy) within” to create the unquenchable spark and later a raging fire. We must learn to take the challenges and turn them into opportunities. We must learn to take the spark and ignite the better part of that which lies within us.