from "For What I Hate I Do."
the NCAAs, but before departing for Houston for the summer,
I had to meet with the coach about my academic meltdown. This
in, Mr. Morris. Close the door!”
the door shut and took a seat to face judgment.
Miguel. It’s not brain surgery,” said Coach Kit,
trying to ease my anxiety. I cracked a smile at his attempt
at humor, but the coach assured me that this was no laughing
matter. “I want to start off by saying congratulations
once again on your victory in Utah. As you can see, I have
placed the team’s time on the record board. Looks nice,
at this, Miguel. The entire squad is ranked 17th in the nation.
Now that’s an accomplishment.”
sir,” I responded, noticing our second - and fourth-place
rankings in the mile-relay event in a magazine on his desk.
why couldn’t you perform like this in your physics and
chemistry classes, Morris?”
not sure, Coach!”
not sure, Morris? Well, be sure of this. You are now on academic
probation. And that’s serious business!” Coach
Kit said, pounding his fist on the desk. “You’ve
never had problems with grades before, Miguel. And I know
you can do the work. So, what’s the problem? Girls?
This is sad, Morris. Two ‘As’, a ‘D’
and two ‘Fs.’ You have a 1.97 GPA, Miguel. Not
Coach I … ”
what?” he interrupted.
having personal problems.”
what, Morris?” Coach asked.
my oldest sister was diagnosed with MS,” I said, trying
to explain why my scholastic performance cratered.
sclerosis?” asked Coach Kit, now sitting upright in
sir. And I haven’t been able to focus lately because
of it and other matters.” I tried to weasel out of the
discussion by talking about my family problems while leaving
out the dirty secrets about my sexual encounters with other
Miguel, I can sympathize with you, son, but you have to get
yourself focused in a hurry. You only have this one chance
to correct your grades, or else …”
else I’m out?” I said, completing his sentence.
Out!” he emphasized. “The university is very strict
where academics are concerned. Star athlete or not, you must
make the grade.
on the subject of being strict, you now must report to the
dean of technology before you leave campus tomorrow. Matter
of fact, he’s waiting on you now,” said Coach
Kit, glancing at his watch.
now?” I asked, with wide eyes and a racing heartbeat.
I was petrified
as I slowly left Coach Kit’s office to visit the dean.
I had heard rumors about him concerning black athletes. Many
believed his policies were biased against minorities. Now
it was my time to face truth and consequence before this alleged
arrived my knees began to buckle and my stomach churned. It
seemed as if all energy had been zapped from my body, which
weakened like a wet noodle. I was about to face my executioner,
a 250-pound tyrant, about my future at Mississippi State University.
Mr. Morris, how’s your day been, son?”
good, sir,” I said wanting to get out of there as soon
why is that, Morris?”
of my grades, Dean Kramer.”
sir. My grades.”
Morris, how did we get to this point, son? Please explain
that to me, boy!”
How dare he call me “boy,” I said under my breath
as I tempered my anger.
Dean, it’s like this,” I said trying to explain,
seething with anger.
mean, sir. Somehow I got behind in my studies because of personal
problems. I just lost focus and interest. That’s all.”
Morris, you cannot just give up, son, because of a few bumps
in the road. You’ll find that there are a lot of hurdles
in life, and that’s not an excuse for failure. Does
that make sense, son?”
sir, Dean Kramer.”
because we need you to pull your grades together and get back
on track, so to speak. Keep in mind, Morris, you can be replaced;
there are a lot of kids who would love to be in your shoes,
boy. Do you understand me?”
sir, I understand.” But he better not call me boy again,
I thought to myself. I swear I’ll kick his ass.
Now this is the situation. You need a 3.0 to stay afloat here,
Morris. Summer school is in your future. We will not settle
for anything under a ‘B’ average from you this
summer. So the ball’s in your court. Can you make the
sir, Dean Kramer.”
what I wanted to hear, because I know you don’t wanna
be a ditch digger like your daddy, Morris. Do you?”
father’s not a ditch digger, sir!” I answered
tersely. Now I was really pissed.
argument may constitute your belief, but the fact still remains
he’s supervising backhoe operators in the hot outdoors.
Is that what you want to do?”
sir,” I said, masking my fury. What right did he have
to insult my dad or me?
So get it together, Morris. Is there anything you would like
to ask me before I end this meeting?”
sir. Not really,” I answered. I was too hot under the
collar to delay my exit from his office. I didn’t need
him to say another word, or I was going to be all over his
white ass – school or no school.