Foot Locker officials, associates, and fans,
Today Mark Anthony Blackmon did not board his flight to a trip that he was extremely excited about. He is in class right now wishing he could be with his fellow runners from the south. @9:30 pm I had never hear him more excited about and actual race, and he was honored to have achieved such high distinction in the cross country world.
Unfortunately athletes are sometimes not in control of their lives, they have parents that can sometimes be over bearing or complete control freaks. (athletes out there you know what this can be like!). Mark had decided very early that he was going to represent the south and do his best to run with this elite field of runners. Amid all of the stress he was facing from his senior project being due the day of his departure, his basketball coach threatening to keep him from starting on his championship team, and his father in his ear about not going, he had put his foot down and said he was ready for this experience, come what may.
When he called me @9:30 he told me his coach had just kicked him off his basketball team and that he didn't care and that he was ready to run. He had done the work to get his senior project rescheduled for another day. I advised him that his decision is his own and we talked about his prospects for college whether they are basketball or running all ready being in place, the ball is rolling so he shouldn't worry about the selfish feelings of adults that don't have your best interest in mind. It is his senior year! He got a call from our father while he was on the phone with me and clicked over.
By 10:30pm Mark said that dad is not letting me go! I told Mark that I would personally come to Charlotte and take him to the airport. I tried to talk to both parties and nothing was yielded. Mark is very sorry he could not make the trip and I have never seen him more upset.
I personally drove to Charlotte this morning to give my brother a hug, take him to breakfast, and tell him its OK. Sometimes life throws things your way that you have no control over, its not about how long you can pout and whine, its about what you do to over come your obstacles and if they knock you down how long its going to take for you to get back up. Take them as they come and keep moving!
Mark deeply wishes he could be there, you will see him in track, and if you are his friend leave some encouragement on his wall!
Good Luck to everyone else it is a great experience!