Never Saw It Coming
Joseph’s heart felt like it could burst at any second as he stared at the man. He didn’t know who the man was, but he could tell that something was amiss. The man spoke in a low voice as he asked, “Why are you dragging those tires behind you?” He wondered where this would lead.
When the boy explained why he had been pulling the tires for so long, his jaw dropped. That was when he did something that Joseph never could have expected, and it would change his life forever.
A Regular Student
Joseph Brown was a high schooler who shared the same dreams that many other students had. He wanted to be a successful basketball player one day, but there was one obstacle in his way.
Joseph was more driven than most people, and he would go to any length to achieve his objectives. But he had no idea that he would face opposition from all sides along the route to achieving his goals.
His After School Activity
Joseph walked every day after school to the supermarket while dragging tires around behind him. People might look at him as insane, but Joseph had a reason for his madness.
He had a goal in his head, and he wasn’t going to allow anyone to tell him otherwise. But things were about to get far worse than he could have anticipated.
It didn’t take long for another student from Joseph’s school to notice what he was doing. Joseph felt dread well up inside him as a boy a year older than him walked in his direction. Joseph wanted the ground to swallow him up – it was the school bully.
He was an unpleasant boy that picked on Joseph for not having the newest sneakers or clothing, but Joseph had a good reason for it.
He Stood Out
When it came to one little detail, Joseph stood out from the other students at his school: his attire. All of his buddies and classmates received new shoes and outfits on a frequent basis.
Joseph was unconcerned about this and continued to wear the same old shoes he always did. He also had no choice but to buy used uniforms rather than new ones. He had no clue that it would entail he would be singled out.
Making The Compromise
Everyone could tell why Joseph’s clothes weren’t brand new. His parents had financial hardships, and he understood that he would have to adjust to a certain quality of living.
He didn’t seem to care. But all he wanted was for his parents to get through their problems and make ends meet. He was willing to make a compromise for his family.
Hard Work And Commitment
As he spotted what he was hauling behind him, the boy sneered at Joseph. Joseph anticipated making a remark about it and attempted to ready himself for it. “Dragging tires?” the bully asked, his eyes brightening. “Are they too poor to afford the wheels on which they travel?”
Joseph clenched his fists and remained silent in response to the statement. He knew in his head that after all of his work and effort paid off, he’d have the last laugh. He still had a while to go, though.
Keeping It To Himself
Despite the fact that the bully had made the remark to him and that others looked at him as if he were some kind of crazy person. He attempted not to be bothered by them. He did what he did for a reason, and it was a great one at that.
But he was well aware of the mockery he would face while attempting to do what he required to attain his ambitions, specifically since he would not justify his actions to anyone.
But Joseph was blind to the fact that someone was monitoring him from behind the curtains. They were in a dark vehicle, maintaining their distance for the moment being, waiting for the right moment to strike.
He had been watching Joseph for a while and had a gut feeling that he was different. He decided he would move in and give Joseph a piece of his mind. But he wasn’t ready for what Joseph would tell him.
A vehicle pulled up alongside Joseph, and a man carefully exited his vehicle. He had a bad feeling about him. He was quite aware that the vehicle was trailing him. He simply didn’t understand why. If necessary, he would be prepared to protect himself.
As he approached Joseph, the man smiled reassuringly. Joseph, on the other hand, wouldn’t feel secure until he made his feelings known. The man came to a halt 10 feet distant and inquired as to why he was pulling the tires around. But he wasn’t expecting the response.
Joseph felt his heart race as he looked at the man, he didn’t know who he was, but there was something about him that he couldn’t put his finger on. He decided to see where this would go and answered the man’s question, “Why are you dragging those tires behind you?”
But once Joseph explained his reasoning behind dragging the tires for so long, the man’s mouth hung open. He would then do something that Joseph wasn’t prepared for, but it would change his life forever.
Joseph’s explanation was that he was training his body for football. He needed a way to stay in shape, and just doing and doing sit-ups wouldn’t be enough. But the man seemed even more confused than before.
He decided to as another question that Joseph would answer candidly. But the man would take action rather than just listen to him. He’d change everything.
The man asked, “why not weight train?” but Joseph frowned and explained that he couldn’t afford to buy weights or get a gym membership. But that wouldn’t be good enough for the man who would introduce himself as John Cleaver.
The man explained that he was a coach at a local football club and so happened to be his neighbor. He told Joseph that he saw potential in him. His story resonated with him, and he wanted to help in any way he could, which would mark a turning point for him.
He decided that he would not only get Joseph a gym membership but that he would also coach him on one of his teams. This would guarantee Joseph a spot, and he would end up playing football for real.
Joseph couldn’t believe the man’s offer and thought about the prospect of leaving his tires behind and trading them in for actual weights. He shook the man’s hand and started his new career.
Achieving His Goals
Every day after school, Joseph would hurry to the gym to train harder than ever to achieve his goals. After dragging around a tire for so long, having professional equipment to work on was like a dream. Joseph pushed himself hard.
He was well accustomed to struggling for his goals, so the hard work never bothered him. What Joeseph did not know was that his struggles were just beginning.
A Similar Environment
What Joseph never expected was to encounter similar troubles at the gym too. It had become his refuge. He noticed that there were other kids his age who came there. Some were hardcore weight lifters and always made a spectacle of themselves.
It seemed they loved attention and always wanted everyone around them to know who they were. It wasn’t long before they set their sights on Joseph.
He Kept His Head Down
It wasn’t long before the other guys began passing comments and remarks about the fact that Joseph was lifting what they called “baby weights”. Their taunts aside, Joseph kept his head down and just kept working on his fitness goals.
He did his best to ignore them but they weren’t satisfied and seemed determined to provoke a reaction out of him and decided to up the ante.
He Needed Help
The continuous taunting and combative behavior by the other guys was beginning to make Joseph uncomfortable. He thought about discussing it with management. He knew this was only a temporary solution as the guys lived in the area and could easily find him elsewhere.
Joseph had faced many adversities and knew that showing weakness would only make things worse. He decided he had to fight back
It Wasn’t Easy
Joseph’s new life had become more difficult than ever. Between football practices with his new team, daily workouts at the gym, and keeping up with his school schedule, he was often exhausted. There were many times in between when he honestly felt like quitting.
When this happened, he thought back to his days of dragging the tire around. His resolve strengthened, he became more determined than ever, and even began documenting his transformation.
It Was The Same With The Team
As his training sessions with the team became more intense, Joseph realized that he was the odd one out there too. Being slightly shorter and much smaller built than his teammates made Joseph an easy target for their antics too.
Many times he was ridiculed and pushed around and was had to double as the team’s water boy since he was the youngest. Joseph began wondering if he should talk to Mr. Cleaver about all the abuse.
He Had A Mentor
Mr. Cleaver had continued being nice to Joseph even after his initial acts of kindness. He mentored Joseph on the finer aspects of the game, and on his fitness. It was clear that Mr. Cleaver had high hopes for Joseph.
Unfortunately, this also placed a lot of pressure on him too. Joseph realized that Mr. Cleaver had done so much for him that he could not ask him to fight his battles too. As far as the bullying went, Joseph had to face it alone.
The Gym Was Worse
Football practice had its share of bullying but since Mr. Cleaver was there, the other guys never took things too far, and usually just taunted Joseph whenever the coach’s back was turned.
At the gym, Mr. Cleaver wasn’t around and the other guys were getting worse. After initially keeping their taunts to just words, they now started getting in Joseph’s face while he was training.
He Didn’t Want An Altercation
The other boys began standing around Joseph as he trained, adding weights onto his bar and trying to break his spirit. He wasn’t afraid of them.
Joseph held himself back from getting into a physical altercation so he wouldn’t run the risk of being kicked out of the gym and letting down Mr. Cleaver. Joseph decided to summon every bit of resolve he had in him and fought back in other ways.
He Was Changing
All the extra time in the gym and brutal football training was starting to transform Joseph. He could see himself start to physically grow. Beyond this, he could also feel himself getting stronger by the day.
It was time for Joseph to start using that strength to his advantage. Keeping note of the other guys routines, the next time they came over to haggle him, he was ready for them.
A Tense Moment
Joseph had quietly kept track of the other guys’ routines and knew that the strongest among them was currently benching just over 200lbs. When the boys showed up to add weights to Joseph’s stack, this time he spoke up for the first time.
It was up to 150lbs which he lifted easily. “Is that the best you got?” Joseph said. The boys were taken aback and decided to challenge him further.
He Wanted Respect
The boys continued to pile on more weight. As it approached 200lbs, Joseph again lifted it without issue. He could see the shock in their eyes now.
He was a lot smaller than them so he could tell that they were shocked that he had even gotten this far. Now it was his turn to taunt back. At the 210lbs mark, he said it again, “Is that the best you got?”
He Got It
By the time he was done, Joseph was up to 275lbs. The other boys were beyond shocked. They had no idea that Joseph had grown stronger than them, given his size. After he woke up and toweled off, the boys all surrounded him. It was a tense moment.
Joseph steadied himself for a confrontation. Instead, the boys applauded and shook his hand. He had finally earned their respect.
Bouyed by his confidence now, Joseph went into his first game for the team quietly determined to prove a point. As a corner back, he was expected to be quick. Joseph had been teased for not being up to pace in training.
What they didn’t know was that in the last month, Joseph had been doing extra laps after everyone else went home, to condition his body.
He Had Made It
After all the taunts of his teammates, Joseph ran like the wind that game and many games after. Joseph’s teammates loved him now as he helped them win game after game. It wasn’t long before a talent scout spotted him in the audience.
He was a stand out player and was offered a full scholarship, and a spot on the local varsity team. Joseph was proud but when he spoke to Mr. Cleaver after one of his locker room speeches, he learned some startling news.
Mr. Cleaver revealed that he had put the team and guys at the gym up to the taunting to push Joseph beyond his limits. Joseph had proven his determination to overcome obstacles wasn’t a fluke.
Calling it “grit”, Mr. Cleaver told Joseph how proud he was of him. After signing a lucrative football contract in his first year of Varsity, Joseph finally knew he had come a long way since being that skinny kid that dragged a tire around.