But when time gets tough, “it’s will”. Do you have the “will to continue on”, when life throws you for a loop.
Where you start from, does not have to be your end. Inky (Inquoris) was born and raised in the Kirkwood section of Atlanta Georgia. He lived with his grandparents and 13 other family members in a small two bedroom home. I grew up with a sister and two brothers on the East side of Detroit MI. Mom said there were others, but I met them much later in life.
I never slept on a pallet but mom talked about sleeping on pallets when she was young. Mom was a country girl who was born in Mississippi in 1919. Her mom died when she was only eight years old and she never really knew her dad. She was raised by her Aunt and Uncle who didn’t treat her right, so she married young, to get away from them.
Inky focused on sports to escape his surroundings of drugs and violence. When you grow up in a rough neighborhood you see a lots of things. As a youngster he played with the older kids and became strong and tough, along with being bruised and bloody. By the time he played with kids his own age he appeared small, but he was tough and wiry.
When Inky got to the University of Tennessee he felt he have to prove himself. At 5’9″ 153 pounds some though he was not big enough to play at that level. But he proved them wrong. The game of street football got him into college, but he was driven to be the first in his family to finish (graduate from college).
I worked on the auto factory floor my last semester of high school in Detroit MI. Mom did the best she could, but now I was living with my dad, and he was tight with his coins. Poor school performance was not acceptable with him. As a military veteran he instilled discipline and structure for me. I became tired of being broke but refused to mess with dope. I had witnessed a lot of crime and violence in Detroit in the 1960’s and didn’t want to end up in jail. In my mind, if you didn’t have a degree, you worked in the factories, or you hustled on the streets. Attending college was not even in my radar at that time.
In the Tennessee verses Air Force football game, Inky played the normal fearless game he was known for. When he made that tackle, he didn’t know it would be a life changing event. When he got the word that he would not be able to play football, he was more than saddened, that he could not complete the promise he made to his grandmother. Professional Football was going to be the way for him to support the family.
He finished college because he was already there. I found it always easier to finish something, once you get your foot in the door. I enlisted in the Air Force to get away from the assembly line. I came to realize that working on the line, was not that fine. My goal was to use the GI Bill to further my education. My life loop came, when I had to get out early to take care of my dad. If his friend hadn’t stepped in, I don’t know when I would have started college.
Sometimes struggle brings new opportunity. Inky rebuilt his life and used his struggles to inspire and motivate others. Inky is a trail blazer, like a few others who have crossed my path in life.