As I step into my future
I lay bare my past.
I once thought that I was evil.
I once thought I was lame.
I was ashamed of my name.
I was unhinged, Insane.
I was drugged out.
I was tired. I couldn’t sleep.
But that was the beginning
of this recovery story.
Let’s go back even deeper.
I was shy.
I was new.
It was a new school.
I moved to the place I grew up,
where later I screwed up.
But growing up, I had a few friends.
Mostly Andy and Ryan, and maybe Jim.
Played a lot of basketball on my block.
I would play till the lights came on and the sun went dark.
Loved the game. Thought I was good at it.
A lonely game of shooting baskets.
All through school I would play after school and on weekends.
And my friends who played basketball became my best.
I mean I grew up in the time of Larry Bird and Reggie Lewis.
We played soccer sometimes, football in the winter,
but when the light illuminated my street,
and even before the bus took me to school,
I’d be out there getting my hands dirty,
chasing after every missed shot,
and letting the mud dance off the Spaulding ball.
One friend ended up going to a different school,
another friend Colin he did too.
We used to play 2 on 2 and run plays,
give and goes, fadeaways.
Andy had a good baseline shot,
but he was a short kid.
And when the time came,
even though he was the best shot I knew,
barely ever beat him one on one,
he went to a school who’s football team was number one
and basketball teams’ JV players started at 6’1”.
So nevertheless he did something else, and I was left alone.
I did try out for the team once,
but I had never played or knew the drills.
And even though I thought I had a good shot,
I didn’t have enough toughness, enough esteem.
So I never made it to the second day of tryouts.
And never made the team.
So I started Oddball Magazine,
which you are reading.
And the reason I’m still breathing
is the dream I never stopped dreaming.
And maybe I will
do more with it.
But I’ll never be a Celtic,
and that is something else entirely.
But there’s a lot of poets, writers and musicians out there,
who inspired me to be this beast.
To write like Leatherface,
to write from my gut,
to say it how it is
and not give a fuck.
‘Cause maybe I am not the best at it,
but you know what? So what.
At least I’m doing something.
What the fuck have they done.
continue to examine me
or not so quietly.
making something out of this mess
But you know what?
I will still be a beast.
Jason Wright is the editor and founder of Oddball Magazine. His column appears weekly. His new book is Train of Thought.