My heart was pounding, the adrenaline I had was flowing, and I was scared shitless. 13 years old and the first thing anyone said to me on the first day of high school was not even “Hi” it was “What the fuck are you looking at!?” well, I was staring into the eyes of one of the meanest freshman at Colton High he was about 5’10 and clearly had 40 pounds on me. Before I could even get a word out I got shoved so hard I flew back into one of the lockers and fell on the floor. I felt weightless as Nathan was hovering over me waiting for me to do something just as everyone else who was watching which seemed like the whole class. “What are you going to do bitch!?” which I already knew I was going do nothing as I waited till he left. I remember getting up feeling embarrassed, ashamed, and like a coward because I didn’t defend myself. As the day went on I could see people pointing at me and saying that’s the kid that got punked by Nathan.

I became angry and even more embarrassed, the day dragged on but when was finally over I walked out of school fast and seen that my father was already parked waiting for me. The first thing he asked me with a big smile on his face was, “Hey son! How was the first day? Any cuties in your class?” He seen that I wasn’t very enthused as I told him how it went and what had happened. At first I thought he would react a bit angry but instead he had the same smile on his face and speeded home. “Everything is going to be alright son, do you have homework today?” “No” I told him but he quickly replied and said “of course you do.” He went into the garage and brought out a box that had gloves, mitts, hand wraps and head gear. “Welcome to the school of hard knocks son” he said to me as he wrapped my hands. “I was bullied at your age to son, when I was about 11 or 12 I had this kid pick on me every day and this older man watched one day and asked if I was interested in boxing which I said yes. Next thing you know the bully came up to me trying to pick on me and never did it again. Now I’m going to teach you how to protect yourself.” I began thinking how impossible it was going to be for me to defend myself against this guy. “Dad this guy is bigger than me” “You’re faster” “But he’s stronger” “You’re smarter! Don’t ever doubt yourself. Be confident in yourself!” we began to train as he was showing me the basic jab which he made me do over and over for about a thousand times. “After the jab I want you to throw a straight right hand as fast and as hard as you can, this is called the one two” I jabbed and threw the straight right thinking that the mitt was Nathans face as hard as I could. “You got some pop in that right hand, again!” my arms began to feel like they were on fire and the fatigue was starting to settle in. “Two more rounds!”

The punches came much slower and I started to get lazy and feel relax, next thing I know after I threw the straight right my dad came back with his left mitt and slapped me upside the head. He then realized I didn’t like to get hit very well, “Always protect yourself at all times son, great job today. We will work on your defense tomorrow, go get some rest” I feel somewhat accomplished after I trained with my father and thought to myself maybe if I do this every day then just maybe I can beat up Nathan.

            The next day in school I did my best to avoid Nathan because I knew that one day of training was not going to be enough to get my revenge. I was walking down the hall to exit the locker rooms when suddenly I heard “move bitch” and got shoved from behind. He continued to walk by and laugh along with his friends as they exited the locker room, I couldn’t wait to get home and train. “Alright son today we are going to work on a tactic called slip and rip. So when you slip his punch you make him pay” at first he began by making me move and pivot away, once I understood the concept of distance and countering my father would then make me throw counter punches. My dad seen that my confidence begin to grow day by day week by week,  I became faster, more precise with my punches, and understood distance and timing. “Timing beats speed, precision beats power, and remember to always go for the nose if you throw the first punch” I asked “why the nose?” he replied with “so they can tear up and they can’t see.” after our training was over and showed me an old Oscar De La Hoya fight and he said        “This guy was bigger than De La Hoya” a few minutes into the round Oscar De La Hoya thru a devastating left hook and smiled and looked at me and said “Goodnight son” I understood the message he conveyed to me. I felt confident, mentally strong, but not yet satisfied.

            It was a Friday and everyone was excited because that meant that we had the next two days off to hang out with our friends, stay up late, and play games. Everyone seemed joyous the vibe was feeling good as we all entered the locker room but of course in came in Nathan loud and obnoxious as always. “Hey bitches I brought gloves in today, who wants some?” everyone looked as him as if he was crazy but I could sense that a lot of people feared him. He kept walking towards my side of the locker room asking people “you want some” he finally locked his eyes on me as I locked my eyes on him. “Come on boy knows your time to fight back pussy” as he got the mma gloves and tapped my forehead with it “Come on bi…” before he got to say another word I reacted and threw the hardest right hand I possibly could as I saw him start to back pedal I kept throwing punches as he finally fell holding his face. All eyes were on me as I looked at everyone, some people were shocked and others had a look of relief on their faces.

            Nathan then went to go rat me out and said that I started the fight as he put all of the blame on me. I told my side of the story and as it was his word against his word we both got suspended for two days. Our parents picked us both up as they looked pretty pissed at me and my father but we headed to our car. I never felt more accomplished even though I got suspended I felt good and proud of myself, I told my dad what had happened and how it happened. Not sure if he was mad that I got suspended or happy that I stood up to my bully but nonetheless with a smile on his face he said “Son I’m proud of you” That right there was the icing on the cake for me, my father not only taught me how to defend myself and stand up for myself, but to also be confident, courageous, and be determined to do anything that I wanted to do. I will always thank him for that and this just goes to show that whatever obstacles in life that you are going through that you can turn things around for the best. Sometimes we all have to go through adversity which helps build character and shows us who we really are.