Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Luis Freakin' Bermudez

This is a story about triumph. About overcoming trials. But in junior high, those things don’t matter much.

So there I was, on the chopping block for the 7th grade basketball team. It was down to me and Luis Bermudez for the final spot, and I didn’t sleep a wink that night.

In the morning, the crisp computer printout on the gym door betrayed me. They must have misspelled my name. It had the same number of letters as my name, but it looked eerily different. Luis Bermudez. I didn’t make the team. Ugh.

Cut. Thrown aside. Cast out. I could already picture the rest of the team (the ones whose names were spelled correctly) running around the courtyard in their new warm-ups. Girls following, swooning.

And then there's me, left without a team and I probably forgot to finish my math assignment, too. I heard it all from well-intentioned family members and friends: “Michael Jordan was cut from his high school team.” “Basketball is lame, anyway.” “Well, Luis is a pretty good player…”

I didn’t want to hear it. I wanted to bury my head under the pillow and listen to Richard Marx all afternoon. I know, that could have been disastrous. But keep reading.

Instead, I decided to find another potential venue for disappointment. Wrestling. I threw on my sweats and walked into the dance room, but it didn’t smell like ballerinas. It was a wall of B.O. A thick wall. But I kept pushing through and officially joined the team (no tryouts, all were welcome).

I learned how to do a single leg takedown, a half-nelson, and an Olympic headlock. And how to wear stretchy pants/shorts. And you know what? I had a great time. I learned a ton. I even took 2nd place in the end-of-year tournament. Take that, basketball guys.

I wrestled through my sophomore year of high school and managed to get out before I ever got cauliflower ear. It was a great experience, and I feel like it was the right path for me. But there’s no way I would have known that in 7th grade…unless Luis Bermudez made the basketbal team and I didn't.

In a way, all of us have our own Luis Bermudez’s. For some, shyness may be their Luis Bermudez. For others, a lack of education. For me, Luis Bermudez happened to be a tall kid who was a better rebounder. (And just to be clear, Luis is a good guy. No hard feelings). 

But everything happens for a reason. More recently, I got “cut” from 3 construction jobs before I figured out that I should be writing for a living. Even though being rejected from the construction industry hurt, I finally learned that it wasn’t where I belong. I belong where I am now, and I love it.

So what are you going to do when you face challenges or rejection? Take it from me, there’s something waiting for you that is much better than mulling around listening to soft rock from the 80’s. Go out there and find it. 

Oh yeah, and hold on to the nights.

1 comment:

  1. As an honorary fellow Mesquite Junior High Wrestling team mate...I not only approve of this message but can vouch for your skills. Who knew you were a basketball reject because you were a Natural on the mat. Hated working out in a room with ballerinas painted on the wall and ballet barre's (that is the proper spelling)that were along the wall. Great memories my friend