Good thing or bad?
I honestly don’t remember what age I was when my parents first got divorced. I might’ve been in kindergarten or pre-k. It was one of those ridiculous stages of early childhood where naps during school was advised.
All I know is that it was a pretty messy situation. I remember my parents fighting, a lot. To a point that I think they forgot they had 3 kids walking around. Kids who were wondering why mom and dad looked so unhappy. So fed up with their current situation and where they had landed in life.
Then the split happened and that was a mess. Real unbearable couple years let me tell ya. Just a blur of jumping from family member to family members home. Like my fathers’ side of the family was playing hot potato with the 3 of us. My mother’s side wasn’t really in the picture.
Then my mom loaded us up in a car one day and we moved to Atlanta for a year. Which wasn’t bad. Got to see my dads’ side of the family from time to time. Was getting sick of Disney world anyways.
Made new friends outside of the neighborhood.
Got into my first fist fight.
Got into sports.
Got into some mischief with the other bay bay kids in our apartment complex.
Had my first crush on my buddy’s sister. Gotta take that one to the grave.
A year goes by and we loaded back up in the car and moved across the country to Cheyenne Wyoming. You know, the birthplace of Alex Moran, the greatest quarterback to step foot on Blue Mountain State. Look him up. Literally the only thing Cheyenne is known for.
But, with that move we were saying goodbye forever to our friends and family in the South. But hey, here’s to new beginnings, right?
After we moved, we didn’t see much of that side of the family. Aside from the first couple summers we spent with them. Our family was officially broken.
It was like breaking up with your gf and not having a decent excuse behind it. “Ay baby, this has run it’s course. It was real, it was fun, but not real fun”
Now the question is, was my parents divorce a good thing or a bad thing. Terrible thing to consider, right? Just think from the perspective of being a product of your environment.
On one hand if the divorced didn’t happen we would’ve stayed down south with our family. Would’ve had someone cheering for us in the stands at football and basketball games. Better turnout at graduation. Weekend get-togethers. Family bbqs. More importantly, we would’ve gone to a school where we weren’t the minority.
On the other hand, my parents’ divorce lead me here. Lead me to this independent lifestyle I live. Doing things on my own. Not needing anyone’s approval or permission to do what I want.
Now, don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t bad in Cheyenne. Take away the occasional racial encounters and the absolute nightmare it was reading The Watson’s go to Birmingham. Cheyenne, for the most part, felt like home.
I will say one thing though. Early on there was a divide between us (Me and Jesse) and the rest of our family. The need to be close with my family had faded with the divorce. To a point where I didn’t see my family members as family. But strangers. I know that sounds bad but, I saw my brothers on the Sports teams twice as much as I saw my own family. So, they took the mantle of people that I needed to see and talk to on a daily basis. They became my real family.
Because sports had become a huge a part of our lives. Especially after our parent’s separation. It was a year-round commitment that took our minds off our broken family.
The fact that our family didn’t take an interest in us playing sports didn’t help either. Nobody had any intentions of coming to a game or showing support. Something looking back, I wish we would’ve talked about. Because ultimately, that was what put the divide between us. Not just between us and our parents, but the whole family.
Divorce had left us so battered and bruised, so distant from everybody. That I wondered, if it was a lack of interest or lack of knowledge that had left us alone. Knowledge of us even being interested in sports.
Without even realizing it, Sports had become our coping mechanism.
(Seriously the first time I’ve used that word. But it felt right.)
It’s not like they had things that were keeping them from being involved. Like work or the commute was too much. We literally lived right across the street from the school. It was just a lack of interest on their parts. We also lived in the time where the internet is pretty accessible to everybody. Online streaming was a click away. So, there was honestly no excuse for not attending the game. For no phone calls afterwards. For not watching online. For not keeping up on the radio. For not checking the stats. For not even sending a half-assed text message. But it is, what it is.
The split had left us absent a father figure.
The role of being the father figure fell on the shoulders of my coaches and they welcomed it with open arms. My coaches were always in my corner. Teaching me things my father should’ve.
Coach Nelson (9th grade football) Taught me the importance of having a firm handshake. The importance of treating everybody with respect. He also got me into saying Yes sir and No sir. Don’t know why, but to this day I still address people this way.
Coach Shaffer (10th grade basketball) Taught me the importance of commitment and accountability.
Coach Noble (10th grade football) Taught me that hard work eventually gets rewarded. Not always, not right away, but eventually.
Coach Filblin(11th grade basketball) Taught me that being undersized doesn’t mean your outmatched.
Coach Pugh (11th grade football) Taught me not to let these sports use you, but to use the sports.
These men have sculpted me into the person I am today. Nobody can take that away from me. But there is always this lingering thought in the back of my head. About how different my life would be if the split didn’t happen. Is it a good thing that it did? I know one thing for sure, I’m better off.
Stay woke y’all