Kenneth was 17 years old when he was arrested for breaking and entering a private property. It was that day that his life stopped. Up until that day he had made good grades, was on the basketball team, and had a great set of friends, or so he thought. Late one night on a cold November’s eve his friend Chris asked him to help move a TV. It was a simple request and Chris had helped him out countless times, so he was quick to agree. While the circumstances seemed suspicious to him; the house being dark, no one being home, asking to not make too much sound, he went along with it anyway. In retrospect, as he got sentenced to 3 years in prison, he wished he would have followed his gut instinct.
The day finally came when he was released from prison. But where would he go from here? He went back to his Mom’s house at 20 years old and started his life over. His dreams of a basketball scholarship were long gone. While he continued to play in lock up, it just wasn’t the same feeling.
Upon his first week out in the free world he applied for admission to the University of Florida. He didn’t have strong hopes considering his background, but he was hoping that the essay he included along with his grades would be able to get him through the door.
He waited outside by the mailbox from noon to 1pm everyday waiting for that letter. It was the only school he had applied to, so it was the only letter he was expecting. While his Mother urged him to diversify his options, that was the school he had always dreamed of attending and to him it was an all or nothing chance. Finally, on the 10th day the mailman stopped in front of him this time instead of going directly to the box.
“Is this what you were waiting for?” the mailman said with a smile as he handed him the letter.
Kenneth looked down to see the University of Florida logo on the envelope.
“Yes! Thank you so much!” Kenneth replied jumping up to his feet and immediately ran inside.
“It’s here, Mom!” he yelled throughout the house.
His Mother ran out from the kitchen to be by his side.
“Well… open it!” she told him without hesitation.
As Kenneth opened the letter he tried to remind himself not to expect much, but he couldn’t help it, he was shaking with excitement. As he opened the letter he began to skim the contents.
“I was accepted!” he cried out, turning to hug his Mother.
They jumped up and down together for at least 5 minutes before he finally read the rest of the letter.
“Basketball scholarship?” he read aloud from the note.
His Mother’s face immediately turned from excited to self-satisfied with the mere mention.
“What is this about?” Kenneth turned to his Mother asking.
“I went up to the admissions office and talked to them about it…” his Mother started off quietly.
“About what?” he asked.
“I talked to the coach and the school. I brought them videos from your games. It turns out they knew who you were, they were planning to recruit you before everything happened,” she continued.
Kenneth tried to open his mouth but nothing came out. He was in shock.
“So… so I am going to play basketball?” he managed to muster out.
“All you have to do is go and play with the team a bit. They said if you still have it, you will get a full basketball scholarship.”
Kenneth couldn’t believe it. All of this time he thought his life was over. That one mistake he had made ended every dream he had. He didn’t even think he would get accepted to UF and here he was, accepted with the promise of a basketball scholarship.
“I’m going to be a Gator, Mom!” Kenneth shrieked out at the top of his lungs.
Kenneth was accepted to the basketball team without hesitation and fulfilled his lifelong dream of being a player on the Gator’s basketball team. It just goes to show that one mistake doesn’t write your whole life. You can pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and go after all of the dreams you have. Who knows, with a little perseverance, they just might come true.