By Jeremy McDonald
I don’t usually talk about my personal life too much because of my own journey to where I’m at a few months away from 28. I’m a private guy when it comes to my personal life even though I’m overall friendly.
Why? I’m a firm believer in it’s the journey that makes you the person who you are in the present day and you don’t need to throw it into others faces to gain respect.
But sometimes you got to share your own journey to make other’s understand how you got to this point; and in journalism, the writer him- or herself never really get the opportunity to bring themselves into their writing in these ‘Gonzo’-isc pieces.
Now, I’m looking for no pity. Never have, never will. I just want to share this with you guys as the reader.
For those who got to meet me over the past year or seen what I’ve been doing to this point since last October, I feel like something like this give you guys a more personal look at my journey to where I’m at in 2016.
Some of you guys reading this may know some of this, others may not.
Growing up, yeah it was tough. I mean who hasn’t had it tough? We all had our own challenges growing up, some different than others, some may be the same.
I faced my own challenges growing up in a single-parent household in the San Francisco Bay Area. Born in 1989 in San Francisco, lived in the San Jose area until 2001.
After losing two family members by the time I was four (by 1993), my sister in her walking to school and she was hit and killed when I was a few months old and my mom when I was four after a long battle with kidney problems. Out of that, I only have two memories of my mom and a picture my sister drew for me shortly after I was born that I have hanging up in my apartment living room.
During the years following that, I saw my dad battle through his own demons with the losses through some rough bouts with alcohol. Some nights were rough from my and my brother’s end than others, we weren’t certain what we were coming home to from school. But he worked his tail off to make sure we had the same opportunities as everyone else.
Yeah we didn’t have the fancy stuff as some of my family members had, but I learned how to deal with what I have through that and appreciate what I had and work hard.
In school, I lost count how many times I got into fights over bullying in elementary school over my glasses, speech impediment and capped teeth. I got called everything under the sun, ‘four eyes’, ‘retard’ and so on.
Yeah it was rough, but I managed to get through it. And overtime, (and a few won fights haha), those kids who bullied me became friends as we worked out many of our difference in lunch detention.
Now I don’t condone fighting, I’m a political guy first by trying to work things out normally then take off the gloves second if need be.
Once I got passed bullies, I had a few teachers in sixth and eighth grade (and a principal), who thought I wasn’t good enough.
My sixth grade teacher told my dad with me right there that I wasn’t smart enough to pass her class even though she was still working on her teaching credentials as I later found out. Proved to myself that I could do it with getting a 3.5 GPA the next four terms of school (thanks to a great teacher that helped in rebuilding my confidence in my school work) and 3.0 the fifth and the sixth.
Kind of wanted to rub it in that teachers face, but learned from my dad that it was better to take the high road from in that situation haha (but I still feel that way to this day haha).
Second half of eighth grade, some things hit the fan involving my dad and alcohol and it trickled into the classroom as the teacher doubted my ability to finish the school year without repeating eighth grade and the principal wasn’t a big fan because he was told I was out of school by some sketchy officials who stretch the truth on the situation I was in (and rather not talk about).
The situation also affected my younger brother too, but with a strong friend support that him (with his own friends) and I had, we polished it off and when we moved to Oregon in 2003 from Sacramento. I still miss hanging out with those friends, but still talk to them on Facebook regularly.
Up in Oregon, I used sports as a escape from what was happening with my dad and his alcohol issues. Sometimes I’d come home and he’ll be intoxicated, so I buried my nose in my schoolbooks, play video games, try to talk to friends on MySpace whenever I wasn’t playing football. Didn’t want to talk about it to anyone cause I didn’t want to hear about it or the repercussions on what may happen.
I think seeing my dad like that paid off cause I didn’t want to be in his position and he told me and my brother that in several situations sober and not; so I worked my ass off in football, in the weight room and the classroom cause I wanted to get out of there. I didn’t want to be in his shoes, I wanted better for myself.
Some kids play sports to earn scholarships, play for the love of sports or their parents make them or for whatever reason.
For me, it was to escape my reality of the uncertainty of what was waiting at home and for the love of sports. I didn’t care that I didn’t start, I was more pissed I didn’t play on my senior night than my career stats haha. It was an escape from reality and to live in the moment of playing and I try to do that with my writing with the ‘In the Moment feel’.
I didn’t want people to know what was going on behind the scenes, so I didn’t say anything, if much at all about it because I thought it’ll go away with what’s happening at home.
But I got through it and graduated in 2007 and went to Southern Oregon University that Fall.
Journalism was an easy choice, because of my love of sports and writing was super easy for me in middle and high school.
After graduation in 2011, my dad was diagnosed with MS and I found out I had an older brother that died prematurely. Big blows as I was trying to start my career post-school.
Went back to Southern Oregon University to stay close, did some post-bac work in the Health and PE field and wrote down in California for two years before making a tough decision to move back up to Oregon after being placed in a tough situation again down there. That’s a story all in itself.
When I moved up to Wilsonville in August of 2015, partially to write and partially to be closer to my dad who’s MS has worsen over the past five years, I had some promising leads as a freelancer that dried up by early October which Amber (who I’ve been with since before graduating in 2011 and married with since 2013) suggested why not turn this old college blog of mine into a sports site since I love writing.
Hesitant at first, but I gave it a chance to stay fresh and help a few buddies who coached. I never expected it to blow up as it did honestly, I thought, ‘ok, by Spring of 2016, I’d be back to square one figuring out what to do’.
But it didn’t. And now I’m facing some adversity to keep my game where it’s at from a few other journalist out there trying to knock me down and stomp me out.
Yeah it’s got to me a bit truthfully, experienced journalist versus a bushy eye kid four years into his writing career, but I ain’t backing down. With all the stuff I’ve been through and the adversity I’ve faced since Day One, they’re nothing but another hurdle in the way. I’ll like to see them do what I’m doing.
Because it’s just another day doing work and there’s no rest for the best. Yeah I have my own issues from all the stuff I’ve battle through and went through, but who wouldn’t? It’ happens. There’s journalist out there and already showed me respect for taking the incentive I’m taking by starting a site.
There’s been so much good that happen to me to this point to even out the bad that I can’t let to fully get to me.
But hey, like I said from the get-go. I ain’t looking for pity for my story, I know sometimes journalist don’t want to share their stories. But I feel like sometimes it’s ok to do so, so the reader can get to know you as more than that writer who interviews their family or them.
This’ll be the only time I’ll fully talk about myself on a social media platform, but I’m feel like right now was a good time to do so.