Dear OG

OG,

It hasn’t been easy now, has it?

First, don’t overreact to hard fouls, don’t react to every call like someone is towing your car, keep your head down, keep pounding the basket and play your heart out. Every time you step out on any basketball court, let nothing hold you back.

I can’t tell you how much basketball will save your life.

When your ole man tells you he is leaving, do not hold a grudge against him. Get mad, write, and please write! Cry, live a little, laugh a little, and love a little. All the emotions you are trying to bottle up will come bite you in the ass; especially when you will be in relationships. Call mom, call her everyday if you can, and tell her you love her. She needs you. Also, while at it, please don’t take sides in their fight.

I can’t stop you from running away to college in Eldoret. It will be a temporary solution to trying to deal with what’s going on at home. Don’t regret it. Your heart will break, you will fail miserably at stuff you like and stuff you didn’t sign up to. You will learn that you have a choice to make, celebrate your failures, grow, and indulge in your vices. It’s a good thing you will meet Sidney. You won’t come across honest friends like him. Keep him close. He will keep you sane and show up for you when you least expect it.

Some games will break your heart; some will make you proud. Some will give you sleepless nights, twisted ankles and broken fingers. Embrace it. Besides being a means of expression, being an athlete will give you a family. Love what you do, and you will learn that people who become excellent at a given thing are not necessarily the same ones gifted at it, because if you don’t love what you do, you are unlikely to work hard enough to get good at it.

I hate to say it, but times will be very unforgiving in the future. I know you still struggle with giving yourself a chance to be you. As you ask yourself questions you don’t have answers to, depression will come at you with all it has. It will sink you down a bottomless pit. And this is where you will learn that basketball is not the only option you have in finding healing. Know that being a man is reaching out for help when you need it. Not trying to fix everything. Go out and listen to people, talk, ask questions and unlearn your stereotypes.

As I write to you, you are a bit older now and have experienced unbelievable things, and have screwed up plenty too. At least now you know you need to right your wrongs.

You don’t know this yet, but you will one day be a published author.

Smile, the world is yours.

Also, call mom!

OG

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