Draft's Picks

Jazmin P. - "The Blind Side" Miami

Vincent van Gogh said "What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?" Courage is going up against something even if there is a possibility that it might not work out. Michael Oher could easily have given in to the drug dealer or society's idea of what he was. He persevered in school despite his academic struggles and had the courage to learn. That gave him the power to use his athletic ability to make it all the way to the NFL. Without the perseverance and courage to succeed in school, we may never have heard of him and all of his athletic ability would have gone to waste.

I was born with asthma. Many people think this is a disability. I did not start school until kindergarten because my doctors felt it too severe a risk to be around other children. Just before my second birthday I was hospitalized because of an oxygen saturation rate of 84%. That is the percentage of oxygen in your blood. The normal rate is 100%. My mother says I was the most active child in the hospital. My doctor had to keep adding oxygen tubing so that I could walk around my room. I could actually step out into the hallway. There I saw a tricycle. 1 tore out my oxygen tubes and rode it in circles around the nurses' station. No one could understand why I wasn't laying in bed and lethargic. Even at 22 months old, I knew that I would not let my asthma keep me weak and helpless.

My mother has never let me quit anything. When I was eight, I wanted to play softball. There weren't enough girls to form a league. I was offered me a spot in the boys' machine-pitch baseball league. At my first team meeting, I discovered that not only was I the only girl, but I was a foot taller than everyone else. The boys seemed not to care if I played, but the parents were very mean. It was the only time my mother gave me permission to quit. My coach believed in my desire to play and appreciated my good attitude. He decided that he would teach the boys that people with good attitudes got rewarded. He put me first in the lineup in a game against our arch rivals. The parents went ballistic. Batting first meant that I would be up 4 or 5 times, and according to them it was 4 or 5 outs he was giving away. He was heavily criticized, but he had the courage to stick by his decision. I went up to bat and everyone was very tense. I fouled off the first and second pitches for two strikes. I fouled off the next five pitches. Now everyone was laughing and enjoying the game. The parents could not believe how determined I was. I fouled off a total of 10 pitches before I hit the eleventh into the outfield for a base hit. I went 3 for 4 that game. We lost the game by one run, but at the team meeting everyone was smiling. The coach gave me the game ball. I had turned everything around, and at the end of the season I got a special trophy for "Best Attitude.”

To get to school every day, I take a bus, a train and the metromover, and then I walk. It's not always easy but I love art and know that this is the best place for me. I have to be careful because of my asthma. I have already had the flu twice this year. But I have the courage to go forward and achieve my dreams. In the movie when Michael Oher first read Tennyson's Charge of the Light Brigade he was shocked that they knew they were going to die but went forward anyway. Then he understood that is the meaning of courage. It's going forward even though odds are against you. Walt Disney said "All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them." In the words of Leigh Anne Tuohy, Amen to that.