My name is Malik Simmons. I am 17 years old and I go to David H. Ponitz. I have my granny's name tattooed on me, and it means a lot to me. I can take her everywhere with me. It brings me comfort. When I get sidetracked or distracted for what my goal is in life, I just look down at my arm and I know how to get back on track.
I swear I feel like I was born to play basketball. I get a special feeling when I touch a ball. When I'm in a gym, no distractions can affect me, and I love it. I started playing basketball when I was three years old. Once I saw the ball go through the net, I got a big thrill, and once I saw the ball go through the net with me being the cause of it, I got an even bigger thrill.
I dream about basketball all the time. I'm a point guard, but I play many positions. My best game ever was in seventh grade. I had 27 points. I made seven threes and three layups. I think I played like that because my family was in the stands
Basketball is a great stress reliever. I remember one time, I was so angry because my parents were fighting and my dad would get so drunk, he would say things to me that I could never forget. He told me that he was going to sleep, hoping not to wake back up. I don't have an interview with him because because I don't think I can talk to him about that. And if I went on about other situations, it would put you in a real dark place. I'm telling you from experience.
One problem I have right now is with my brother and sister, they both went to college and dropped out. I think their decision making was poor, but they are working to be successful now. A while back, I was smoking, being involved with guns, money, and girls. I was smoking to clear my mind, but at that time, that didn't even work. This was in eigth grade. I really don't have an explanation about why it didn't work, but when I went to the gym, I just calmed down. I was born to play basketball.
You can find an outlet like basketball or poetry or football to be an outlet for you. I did this story because it's on my mind 24/7, and it holds a toll on me and me talking about it helped me express myself and clean out some baggage. I learned that no matter what you go through, there's always a good way to cope and a bad way to cope.
I'm a senior now, and I'm proud to say I'm on the honor roll, I'm in scholar programs, and I'm affiliated with the Males of Color. I have a stable and loving relationship, and now I'm proud to say I have two college interests from St. Joseph University and Clark State Community College.
Malik Simmons is a senior at Ponitz CTC High School. Thanks to Ponitz Radio media arts instructors Joanne Viskup and Jeffrey Crowell. Learn more at the school's website: http://ponitzctc.org. Dayton Youth Radio is supported by the Virginia W. Kettering Foundation, the Vectren Foundation and the Ohio Arts Council.
This story was created at the Eichelberger Center for Community Voices at WYSO.