Brushing my teeth, I stared at the 8 year old face in the mirror and wondered Why do those guys constantly torture me? The weekend went way too fast and now I have to head out to the bus stop and take it from them for the millionth time. I wish it were summer.
“Mom, I don’t feel like going out to the bus stop. I’m going to watch from the window and head out as soon as I see it.”
“OK” said Mom, “But don’t miss the bus, I don’t have time to drive you to school.”
Settling on the couch facing the window I lean back and close my eyes; the dream returns. I’m a University of Washington football player. The ball is pressed tightly against my side; running with all my might, I’m cutting, juking, and breaking tackles all the way to the end zone to thousands of cheers and screams from adoring fans… The bus pulls up. With a sigh, I reluctantly pick up my back pack and head for the front door. “Bye Mom, I love you”
“I love you too Cody, have a wonderful day.” I waited just long enough to be certain the bullies were on the bus and then I ran. Extending my hand into the closing door just in the nick of time I hopped up the steps. Taking my seat in the front near the bus driver, we made eye contact and said, “Good morning.” She knew about the bullies and that it had been going on for many months. She looked at me with kindness and said for the umpteenth time,
“Don’t worry Cody, one day things will be different. Your day will come.”
The boys that harassed me were two sets of brothers. It was just them and me at the bus stop each day. Why was I their target? Was it because I was alone and they had support or was it because they had more money than we did? Whatever it was, they loved picking on me at the bus stop and on the bus. It was the bus driver’s idea for me to sit near her to discourage their incessant poison. Sometimes I felt like I was always in a battle and I had to always be on guard and it went on far too long.
Fast Forward 9 years:
Grabbing my gear bag, I headed for the front door. “Bye Mom and Dad, I’m heading out.”
“OK sweetheart, God Bless you tonight and good luck. We’ll be there cheering.”
Turning the key in the ignition, my old Junker starts to rumble and I head to school. Focusing on the task at hand and visualizing success, I’m stunned that this will be my last high school football game. All the years of hard work and sacrifice paid off. I accomplished my goals and led the league in rushing, touchdowns, and have set the tackle record at my school. Next fall I will be wearing the Huskies purple and gold. “Where did time go? It just seems like yesterday that I was that little boy at the bus stop.
In the locker room we gear up and are unusually quiet thinking about the series of “lasts” we are experiencing as high school seniors. It’s a mixed bag of excitement about the future and nostalgia about the past. I pull my number “48” jersey over my head for the last time…ever. Looking around the locker room at the familiar faces, I think to myself These guys have been my teammates in countless games and comrades in pranks and parties. I love ‘em and am going to miss ‘em.
Last out of the locker room, with helmet in hand I dash to the bus. Flying up the steps I extend my hand in to the closing door just in the nick of time. I grab a seat toward the front and breathe a big sigh as I settle in… just then the bus driver turns around. She looks straight into my eyes, smiles, and nods her head. The knowing in her eyes brought the words rushing back into my heart….. “Don’t worry Cody, one day things will be different. Your day will come.”
This is a true story. Even though it’s about a boy persevering and becoming a young man we can all learn from the message. Many times life is frustrating and we don’t feel good about ourselves. Our dreams seem ridiculously far off, even dead.
But …no matter what… “persevere and be patient”, DON’T GIVE UP, because “your day will come.”
By Rhonda Shelford Jansen