Tuesday, January 9, 2024
Year : 1, Issue : 19
by Salman J. Choudhury
Last night, me and my friends were having a conversation about athletes and their influence on today’s generation. I don’t know much about sports, so I went on to the good old internet and had a lot of options to choose from, with different varieties of sports to look through.
One athlete that stood out to me doesn’t just excel in one sport but two, and his name is Bo Jackson, who is considered to be one of the greatest athletes of all time and is known for his exceptional skills in multiple sports like football and baseball. He was born on November 30, 1962, in Bessemer, Alabama. He was enrolled at McAdory High School in McCalla, where he dominated in different sports like football, baseball, and track and field. He went on to attend Auburn University, where he played both football and baseball and was a two-time All-American in football and a one-time All-American in baseball in 1985. With this level of skills, he had a bright future ahead of him, but he wouldn’t be here without any of the hardships and obstacles that shaped him into the person he is right now.
In the early stages of Bo Jackson’s life, he faced racial discrimination as an African American and was also denied admission to a better school because of his race. He lived in a rural part of Alabama, where he lived with his father and mother, who had to work hard to make ends meet. In 1986, he was drafted by the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the MLB’s Kansas City Royals, among many others throughout his career. Unfortunately, his career was cut short due to a hip injury he suffered during a game. Although his career was short, his burning desire for sports lived on. He went on to create a complex that offers training and coaching services to young athletes. He also has a foundation called “Give Me a Chance,” which supports educational and athletic programs for underprivileged youth.
To others, he may seem like a normal superstar-level athlete, but to me, he’s someone who loves the sport and caters to people who have the same burning desire but are unable to chase their goals. The reason he’s so important to me is because I too used to have love for the sport I used to play but was cut short due to an ankle injury I got, so it feels like I can relate to him on a level different than others, which drives the motivation I have today.
Throughout his career, he has had a lot of quotes that aren’t word-class inspirational, and you’ll tear up because of how genuine they were. For example, “Don’t run too fast through life. You only have one”, which was amazing and motivates me the most because I’m not a firm believer in living your life to the fullest, so I stay hidden from the eyes of others inside my 5 by 5 room where I feel comfortable, but that’s where I was wrong. The fact that I was living my life comfortably is what was holding me back from growing. I thought I always had another day, so I just kept squeezing those days one by one without a thought.
Another example is “Set your goals high, and don’t stop till you get there,” which I thought was a reality check for me because I don’t have a lot of goals of my own, actually not a single one to pursue, which connects back to the other quote I was explaining earlier.
I just wanted to mention how beautiful life can be with the help of others. It doesn’t matter if it’s an A+ celebrity or athlete or anyone random on the street; just being kind, thoughtful, and empathic towards others can inspire a lot more than you think, and today for me, it was Bo Jackson.