Football has been in my life since I was four years old. I have always loved the game and never wanted to play anything else. I started track and field a year ago, due to the fact I was told it would improve my game. This year we experienced something that has forever changed me, and my outlook on life. Over the summer we were awakened at 5:30 am to our home on fire. In a matter of minutes, we lost everything.
I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in mouth, and I have never witnessed life in the projects. I have over 25 educators; including both of my parents, in my immediate family. College is something that is spoken about daily in my family. We never thought of going to college as a choice, in our home it is something that is expected. My father drilled into me that what I lacked on the field, I could make up in the classroom. Academics was placed ahead of sports. I was never to allowed home anything lower than a B in my classes. When I finally did in high school, they let me know football was the least important thing on their list. If I wanted to continue to play then I had to raise my grades.
Growing up we moved around a lot, and every time I started to receive notoriety, we relocated and I had to start playing with a new team. Each time he made me start at the bottom, and work my way up to a starting position. Considering my size, this was no easy task. Most coaches took one look at me and didn’t think I could handle the task at hand. Each time I proved them wrong.
Now I say all of this to make it clear that when you lay your head down one night and think you have everything you need or want and lose it in a matter of seconds you learn something about yourself. I never knew why my father made me started over each year until he explained he wanted to be able to play with the best, He wanted me to learn no matter how many times you have to start over or who you are up against, if you want it bad enough no one can stop you from getting it back but you.
Watching my parents this summer lose everything they had, but making sure we didn’t suffer, and get us into a better home so quickly has definitely been my greatest influence. It has made me realize you can overcome any obstacle in your way as long as you have your faith, perseverance, and drive. Even if I don’t get the opportunity to play college football, I will still get my degree. I’m too competitive to settle for anything less. So, even if they will never hear Jaden Harrington being called out for a starting lineup, they will hear Jaden Harrington, Ph.D. being called at graduation!