In Marvin Sapp’s song “The Best in Me”, Marvin describes how God saw the best in him, while everyone else around him could only see the worst. This blog is dedicated to the people who saw the “Best in Me” when I sometimes didn’t see it in myself.
In the 7th grade, despite constantly getting in trouble, Mr. Smith pulled me to the side and said “you have so much potential and acting like everyone else will never let you reach it. You are different and have a chance to be successful.”
My Uncle Specs who was not related to me in any way shape or form but was such a presence in my life as a family friend, role model, and mentor; I never second guessed calling him my Uncle.
My Mother worked all day as a teacher and would go to work a second job in the evenings. She answered calls at a call center to ensure we could live a comfortable life and make sure the best she saw in us would come to light.
Coach Austin, Thompson, Reardon, Talley, Junie, Donahoo, Mcginnis, and so many other coaches who saw something in me that made them scream, yell, throw hats, and do whatever else was necessary to get the best out of me.
Granddad Bacchus who always encouraged me to work hard in school, sports, and life. Our visits always ended with him putting a couple of dollars in my hand while saying “boy, I’m proud of you”.
Mrs. Flood who forced me to take AP government my senior year. She constantly reminded me that I couldn’t just be an athlete but had to be a Scholar-Athlete.
My Grandma Williams who regularly sent letters of encouragement and stressed the importance of Divine Order.
My sister who kicked those girls out of my hotel room at the NAACP conference because she was a hater. I am just joking, because she only wanted the best for me.
This is a short version of a list that could go on for days. This blog would become a 10 page essay if I included everyone who has impacted my life and I hope no one left out of this blog is offended. But, as I think of what these people meant to me I am reminded of three things.
First, no one is self-made. Anyone who solely bases their success on their hard work, talent, and determination isn’t being honest. It would truly be a disservice for me to claim to be where I am today and accomplished what I have solely based on my efforts. Too many people impacted my journey for me not to give credit where credit is due.
Second, it doesn’t take much to change someone’s life. Does Mrs. Flood remember telling me to be a “Scholar-Athlete”? Who knows. But, that phrase stuck with me and that’s what matters. It simply shows how the smallest encouragement can go a long way. The smallest show of support or care can completely change someone’s trajectory.
Lastly, take a moment to thank the people who helped you along the way. My Uncle Specs died from Cancer in 2015 and before he passed, I had the chance to send him a letter, acknowledging how much he impacted my life. Specs told me that letter was worth living for. It reiterated the importance of letting people know that they made a difference in your life. We should let them know how much it meant that they saw “The Best in You”.