just spent an hour writing a column about me and all my trials
and tribulations and blah blah blah.
Then I realized that nothing about me is my own. I am a collage of bits and
pieces of things I have picked up from friends and family throughout my life.
Everything about me I have learned or acquired from someone who does it better
than me. So, I decided to make this column about those people.
I learned from Callie Mae Harper, my best friend LaMario’s mother, that it doesn’t
matter how big the house you come home to is. “What matters, JJ, is how much
love fills that home. You might be moving to a smaller house, but your family
has enough love to last the whole street.”
That is what Miss Harper told me when my family was going
through a rough financial time and had to move out of our house.
Callie Mae’s advice taught me that a smaller house, or a
tougher situation, can bring people together. That smaller house my family
moved into brought us together again. Me and my
brother shared a room again, and I spent my senior year of high school with him
as one of my best friends.
I learned from LaMario Harper
that talk is cheap. “Full of sound and fury signifying nothing, J. That’s
Shakespeare, dog, Shakespeare. If you don’t understand what that means, J, let
me break it down. Don’t talk about it, be about it. Don’t bring all this hype
to the world if we’re not gonna back it up.”
I learned from Willie Jackson, my basketball coach in
high school, that everything is not about me. “The
world does not revolve around JJ Marshall. Once you figure that out, J, you gon’ be in good shape.”
I thought he was holding me back in high school and that
my team would have been better with a different coach. The year after I left,
he took a team that was supposed to be terrible and produced the most wins in
school history. I still look back and wish I would have listened to him on the
court, but the things I learned from him off the court are branded in my brain
and have made me a better person.
I learned from Lori Marshall, my mother, what
unconditional love is. She loves her family more than any person I have ever
seen. She loves the good things, the bad things, the highs and the lows. She
loves me for my faults as much as she loves my successes.
I learned from John Marshall, my father, how to be tough.
Of all the things he taught me, I don’t know why I chose that. I get my sense
of humor from him, my ability to produce this column, but the one thing I
learned the most from him was how to be tough when things aren’t going right.
I have learned from myself that I still have a lot to
learn, and I can’t wait to meet the next person who will add to the collage.
JJ Marshall is a sophomore
journalism major from Shreveport
and serves as a reporter for The Tech Talk. E-mail comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.