what do you want me to call you on jump?
boom boom is the most challenging student i have ever dealt with. when i first met him, he would steal from me, cuss bad words and disrespect me every chance he got. but i could tell something was different about him, so despite my neighbors’ pleas, i kept letting him come over.
how old are you, boom boom?
when boom boom started coming to saturday volleyball, he saw how i interacted with the other children. i hug them and pick them up. i give them kisses and high fives. i am different from the other coaches.
what’s your favorite thing in the whole world?
what’s our thing, boom boom?
when you open your hands up wide and give me a big hug.
boom boom comes from an extremely poor family. he does not attend school and rarely showers. he is neglected, beaten and abused and the evidence lays plastered on his boney body. but underneath that rough exterior, he is abnormally sweet. and has grown to be one of my best students.
are you good at volleyball?
i’m the best.
boom boom now spends every evening studying with me and every saturday playing volleyball.
and when i got back from a week in st. kitts for peace corps training, he was waiting at my door for me. i opened my arms and gave him a big hug and said,
i really missed you, boom boom.