Friday, February 19, 2010
Week 5: Catch Outside
College. I know this word. To me the word college is tangible, manageable. For Tommy, college is a daunting goal. We discussed college a lot today while throwing around the pigskin. We moved our conversation outside, a nice recess from the musky gymnasium that we usually talk and toss in. Being outside Tommy was much sillier, and more open. I could tell immediately how uncomfortable school was for him. The moment we walked through the doors and the unusual January heat hit his face, a rare smile stretched from ear to ear. I complimented his arm. He can throw it pretty hard for a seventh grader. “Good,” he said, “I’ll need it to get to college.” To Tommy, college is so distant and unrealistic that in his mind a higher education is only possible through sports. Soliloquy ensues. All about scholarship possibilities for hard work and financial need grants. I felt like someone who he trusted had never explained this to him. Hopefully, he will take this to heart. A first lesson, possibly. It was my birthday and I told Tommy that I was twenty years old. He immediately began comparing me to his brother, who he called a bum repeatedly. He explained that his brother was twenty too but wasn’t smart and didn’t go to college like me. He explained all the things he had been arrested for. I made a point to let him know that now he knew what not to do watching his brother’s mistakes. He seemed to take that to heart as well. A second lesson, possibly. Big Brothers Big Sisters is hosting a bowling party a week from this Saturday. Tommy has not stopped talking about it. He seems elated at the idea of hanging out on the weekend. I invited a group of my friends to come to the bowl to meet Tommy. Hopefully they’ll support our program. If Tommy could have any job in the world he would be a professional gamer. He asked me what I’d be. I said that I would probably like to be the host of Real Sports on HBO with Bryant Gumbel. He laughed. I hope soon he develops other passions other than video games and contact sports. I think that’s where I come in. I am going to take a more active role in his schoolwork, while still maintaining our friend-to-friend relationship. I hope he likes my visits. I know that I do I also hope that he is learning from me as I am learning from him.