Giving Up On the Dream

Giving Up On the Dream

A Story by Faith

A profile essay of a friend



Standing near the smokestacks, I look over to my interviewee, his name is Chibuzo and his face is caught between bewilderment and excitement. Dressed for an interview, he wears a long button down shirt with tan khaki pants. As I ask my first question; “How long have you been playing?” He replies, “Uhh I don’t know less than eight years,” as he looks down at the ground. Though he forgets the age he remembers playing on the grass fields with other kids. How they would kick the ball endlessly into the end of day, or until mom called them back home. He and his friends would use stones as goal posts, but it didn’t matter. “I would play just to play” he said smiling. As I begin to delve deeper into why he likes it so much it becomes harder for him to explain it. “I don’t know why I love it, but I just do” then I start to notice his left arm movement. As he talks and feels unsure of what to say, he moves his left arm up and down slightly between a ninety degree angle, and less at times. He feels it helps him explain the words much better. He also looks off into the distance at times, maybe he’s reminiscing but it’s not a blank stare and he doesn’t do it for too long at one time, but it is frequent.  Maybe he is uncomfortable, getting interviewed isn’t the easiest thing, but he assures me that he is relaxed.

Further into the interview, I start to question Chibuzo’s answers. He tells me when he    is on the field, “I try to figure out the plays of the game, the ball’s destination, and what is needed of me to do to help the team.” I then kick to him a size 3 football that I brought along with me for the interview. He begins to play around with it kicking it himself, and juggling it, which involves your whole body, except hands. I ask “Does the ball make you comfortable?” but he responds “No.” This surprises me so much I forget what to ask him next. I stand in silence as he picks up the ball to bounce it like a basketball player. I choose not to question it and decide to ask, “What is your major?” “Biology, I want to become a doctor.” His face lightens up when he says it, but it doesn’t convince me enough. He then starts to describe his reason for being a doctor. “I want to help people. If I became a doctor, it wouldn’t be just for me” So I then say to him, “In an article on Calhoun Times a professional footballer player named, Joe Nasco tells kids in a gym class at a local school ‘Success is only a breath away.’ This is coming from a guy who wanted to become a professional since he was a little kid, and made it from an open tryout, not a college draft.” He looks at me as if what I said was nonsense and almost dismissing it altogether responds, “I wanted to become a professional football player to, but that was then, now I’m focused on studying.” So I then ask him if he has fun studying. “Who has fun studying?” “You should if you’re so focused on something. Shouldn’t you have fun doing it?” He looks at me and starts to mutter some words, I can tell he knows where I’m getting at. He then hesitantly agrees with me and says, “Yea, I do have fun studying.” I pause for a little with questions and just try to observe Chibuzo. He is playing with the ball again, and this time as I look at his eyes when he occasionally looks back at me there is a glitter. He seems at peace nothing is worrying him; as the ball rolls by his foot and he pushes it away, gently showing good control, I wonder what makes one give up what they love. It’s hard to understand why he doesn’t follow his dream. In Chibuzo’s words, though studying isn’t that hard “I need to study as hard as I can to become successful.”

At this point, I begin to ask him questions of his future in football, and from his explanations it seems as though he’s irritated. As I ask him whether he would want to play for the college team he says, “I don’t have the time to devote myself, nor can I play at that level.” Then I restate that I just asked if he wanted to, he replies “Yes.” As my questions start to involve a more detailed explanation of why a kid who loved playing so much gave up on his dream of playing professional football, I can tell he doesn’t like to put it in the same context I would. He says, “That wasn’t a real dream, it was just something I thought of as a kid.” Now this young man wants to become a doctor and be successful in a different way. I start to ask him how he feels about working hard to attain your dreams. In a football sense, I relate it to training every day, as they say, practice makes perfect, but he wants to compare it to studying. Then my most revealing question to him comes to me from him saying the word “talent.” So I ask him, “When did you feel you weren’t talented enough.” He replies “Always” then laughs it off and says “No, when I was in high school, I saw that I just wasn’t good enough; I was just decent.” From his expression I can tell he’s serious, the smile and laugh are no longer there, he speaks softer, no more is he joking about this interview, his eyes are focused, and I worry the questions are hurting him. As I look at his face, and he looks back at me, I am at loss of what to say next. He just seems wounded by his own words. Then I give him a quote from Kevin Durant, “Hard work beats talent when talent don’t work hard.” Immediately, he says “I contradicted myself.” He feels the quote makes a lot of sense and agrees with it but from his face expression, which is still focused, but it’s more that he is in his own thoughts than talking to me. He then looks at me, but doesn’t want to. Breaking the silence he opens his mouth and says, “Don’t make me look bad.”

© 2012 Faith

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Added on December 31, 2012
Last Updated on December 31, 2012
Tags: profile, essay, interview



Bear, DE

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