I grew up poor living with six brothers, three sisters—a group of foster kids, my father, and a wonderful mother. We had little money and few worldly1) goods, but plenty of love and attention. I was happy and energetic. I understood that no matter how poor a person was, he could still afford a dream.
My dream was athletics. By the time I was sixteen, I could crush2) a baseball, throw a ninety-mile-per-hour fastball3) and hit anything moving on the football field. I was also lucky: My high-school coach was Ollie Jarvis, who not only believed in me, but taught me how to believe in myself. One particular incident with Coach Jarvis changed my life forever.
It was the summer between my junior and senior4) years, and a friend recommended me for a summer job. This meant a chance for money in my pocket, certainly, money for a new bike and new clothes, and the start of savings for a house for my mother. The prospect of a summer job was enticing5), and I wanted to jump at6) the opportunity.
Then I realized I would have to give up summer baseball to handle the work schedule, and that meant I would have to tell Coach Jarvis I wouldn't be playing. I was dreading this, spurring7) myself with the advice my mother preached to us, "If you make your bed, you have to lie in it.8)" ......