Rising from the Ashes

As a summer tradition, I started to watch One Tree Hill for the… I don’t know, fifth time, probably. OTH is one of those shows with many life lessons, is super quotable, has good plots, and has a lot of episodes per season, so it’s perfect for a summer show. The characters all go through hardships and overcome it, you know, like real life. One person that I love — I do love most of them, actually — is Coach Whitey Durham. He is blunt. He is that one person, kinda like that wise grandpa that tells it how it is. He is supportive of his players and tries to do anything he can for them. While I don’t know much, or anything, about basketball, I can tell he’s a great coach. I mean, other than being supportive, they do win championships after all. In season 4, episode 19 “Ashes of Dreams you let Die”, Whitey tells Nathan, his star player who had been going through difficult times, an important quote that has stuck with me for a long time: “People love the guy that rises from the ashes.” I realized that it’s true. People, at least most, do love a person that rises from nothing; we love the underdog that wins. Of course, there are those who are selfish and only care about themselves and their wins. But I like to think that there are people who truly care about others and their successes.

In my short life — if you count 20-going-on-21 short — I have seen and met so many people that love this idea of others succeeding from nothing. I love the story of someone rising from the ashes. Hollywood alone has created a lot of movies and shows about this concept. Most of them are true stories. It can be the sports team that won when no one was expecting it; or the person that didn’t have a place to live but was helped by a family and then showed he was a great football player; or the group of undocumented students from an underserved high school who beat the top colleges in the nation in an underwater robotics competition. We all watch the movies and we all feel great at the end. They give us hope. They give us faith. They make us believe that nothing is impossible and all we have to do is dream and work hard.

Life is full of the Whitey Durhams. I have many Coach Durhams in my life. They are those people who have helped whenever I needed it. Or the people who introduced me to someone who basically changed my life. The people who gave me their full support and allowed me to become who I am today. Those who did it without wanting or needing anything in return and they did it because they wanted to. It’s the ones that offered me a place to stay whenever I couldn’t go back home for the holidays. The people who check up on me no matter where I am. The ones who ask about what I’m doing next year and are actually excited and supportive of my decisions. The list goes on.

Of course, there are also many Dan Scotts. If you haven’t watched the show, Dan Scott is the father of Nathan and Lucas. He is a bad person. He kills his own brother, mostly because he is jealous that Keith (his brother) was more of a father to Lucas and a partner to Karen (Lucas’ mom) than he ever was. Confusing? I know, watch the show! The Dan Scotts of the world are those who only care about their successes. Those who will get jealous when you accomplish something. I have also encountered many of those in my life. They are the people who congratulate me on something but then say that I think I’m all that. It’s those family members who act happy about me and get mad at what I’m doing. It’s the people that don’t want to see me do better than them. It’s those who think my life has been a piece of cake and everything was handed to me. Again, the list goes on.

It’s the Dan Scott’s in my life that pose the biggest challenges, but the Whitey Durham’s are the ones that help me overcome them. So many times we look at the story of the underdog and feel proud and happy that they succeeded, that they will be able to say, “I made it”. But so many times we forget about the Dan Scott and the Whitey Durham of those underdogs. We forget to see who put the challenges and who helped them overcome the barriers. Because in all honesty, we, the ones who rise from the ashes, have the help and support of many Whitey Durham’s. Sure, we did have to put in the hard work, the tears, the sweat. We put in whatever it took to rise and succeed. But, we wouldn’t have made it without the belief and support of our very own Whitey Durham. So, for those people who have helped, supported, believed, and gave me a hand when someone needed it, thank you, because it feels great to have you as our very own version of Coach Durham. And for those who continue being someone else’s Whitey Durham, you rock. We may love the guy (or girl) that rises from the ashes, but we also love the ones who help us do it.

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