Below is a beautiful essay written by Antonia Nichols that captures the true essence of what the Playmaker spirit is all about. Antonia is a senior in high school who dedicates much of her life to helping the most vulnerable among us. Her attitude of optimism makes her one special young woman
Shall we skip?
Henry and I were walking in the dark after we finished watching a movie. We drifted towards his beat-up truck on the dirt road past the church. This road is something special; it is not just dirt and rocks. He stopped and his eyes shifted to meet mine.
“Do you want to skip?” he asked already knowing the answer.
“…Yes, of course” I replied, surprised that he knew me enough to offer.
This road is my skipping road, a road that is often filled with echoes of familiar laughter. It is a road I have run down blowing bubbles in the spring, sliding on ice in the winter, and always vow to skip down in the summer. Only on a small island like this could I make such a promise to myself. Every time I travel the distance from Erica’s house to the line where the paved road starts I must skip. Skipping brings a feeling like flying, just a moment of freedom from the strain of the world. I am a person with skin that uncontrollably permits feelings and senses to enter my body, making me incapable of ignoring others and hopeful that one-day every child can have that skipping feeling of invincible joy.
Taking a moment to fly with my heart doesn’t mean forgetting, it’s just giving myself the power to reboot and continue strong. While skipping, never forgotten memories flash through my mind vividly with each step. Memories of voices saying “we don’t recycle in this school”, visions of a child with Down syndrome struggling to understand, tense feelings from debates of seemingly impenetrable poverty and Kenneth, the young war-weary Ugandan boy’s eyes glistening in the sun, deepened with fear and intensified with pain, all rush through my mind. With such images of struggle it is seemingly impossible to imagine a carefree world. Yet when I skip down this road that feeling of emptiness, helplessness, is momentarily forgotten. Heading towards that paved road I am reminded why I believe in a passion for life, a love of people, and an idealistic humanitarian world. I know that kindness can spread like wild fire. The emptiness will never completely leave me; but for that moment there is hope that we can build communities in which people step up to help one another. For that moment I know that the knowledge I will gain will leave me with the tools to help those who hurt and have no voice. When I skip that little spark burning inside, the one that tells me anything is possible increases in size. Doubts slip out of my mind, and I know with my determination, education and passion I can change the world by touching others.
The boy with whom I walked towards that truck may not have wanted to skip, but he knows me and cared enough to let me fly once again.
“Do you want to skip?”
“… Yes, of course”
by Antonia Nichols