Have you ever felt as though you really needed someone in your corner? The world was against you (or at least your corner of the world) and you just needed someone who would cheer you on, show support, pat you on the back. You just wanted to know someone was on your side.
I encounter heartbreaking stories in my work everyday. I’m a pastor in an urban setting where I see kids in our school and neighborhood who are neglected, kids who are abused, kids who are born with disabilities because mom was on drugs while she was pregnant, kids who just need someone in their corner.
Whenever I see a piece on 60 Minutes, or Dateline, or the evening news about adversity being overcome, I can’t help but cry. I become an instant sap. I’m not sure from where those tears come. Are they joy for those who have beaten the odds? Are they empathetic tears for those in my own setting who may never know triumph? Are they sorrow over the feelings of helplessness I sometimes have?
You’ve seen those pieces, haven’t you? The kids from Harlem who audition for a show that becomes nationally known; the teacher on the south side of Chicago who spends time after school teaching children how to play musical instruments; the student with a learning disability who suddenly comes alive through an art program. Those all make me cry. They tug at my heartstrings and give me reason to carry on my work in a very difficult setting.
I suppose that’s why the video below hit me so hard the first time I saw it. It’s about a high school football team consisting of incarcerated players: winless, fanless, nameless. But someone gets in their corner and, at least for one night, changes all that.
Those who were treated like aliens now hear people they don’t even know shouting their names. They begin to see the world in a different way. They hear people cheering them on, showing support, patting them on the back. Someone is on their side. Someone is in their corner.
Watch this video. Then ask yourself: Whose corner can I get into today.
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