Time for a Change


Jeremiah was a bully. And he knew it. The fiery look in his eye proved it.  Everyone was always telling him that he was “so mean”. Mean. Mean. Mean. It’s all he heard. He didn’t try to be. But their words reminded him that he had to live up to the label. And as a frequent flyer in the principal’s office, live up to it he did. Most of the time for picking on someone for something.

When Jeremiah was interviewed by Kylie, 5th grade manager of the Health and Wellness Center, at his Kentucky MicroSociety, she even called him out on it, “Look, you clearly have the skills to lead the basketball clinics,” she said, looking over his resume, “But I can’t have you putting down the customers.”

She expected an argument, with his reputation and all, but instead he simply shook his head in understanding. He wanted this job. He wanted people to see him differently. As an athlete maybe. He just didn’t know how to change their impression. 

 “I’ll hire you as our hoops coach,” Kylie said, looking him square in that fiery gaze, “I think you’ll do a good job here.” 

You’ll do a good job, he repeated in his mind. He wanted to smile. But just nodded instead.

On his first day on the job, Jeremiah was assigned an individual shooting lesson. His client, Jake, wheeled into the gym. Jeremiah bit his lip and tugged at the bottom of his t-shirt. He had never worked with handicapped players before, but remembered what his coach had once told him – a lot of shooting is about angles and trajectory. So he forgot about the wheels and focused on the arms.

When his client missed the basket and instead hit the stack of mats leaning against the wall, he laughed. Not in a mean way but in a lighthearted way. Not at Jake, with Jake. After ten minutes, Jake didn’t make a single shot. But he had fun and new technique to build on. His beaming smile proved it.

 As he wheeled out of the gym, Jake stopped to make an appointment for the next week. “It was worth my Micros,” he declared to Michaela, who penciled his name into a new time slot. “My coach was so nice.”

Nice. Milling over the word, Jeremiah thought he could get used to it. It didn’t scream “superstar” or anything. But that was cool. He could live up to that label. 


      Did you like this story?  What Defines Who You Are? 

This story is Copyright © 2011 by MicroSociety, Inc.


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