70 years ago today, John Woodruff figured he'd played THEIR game long enough. Yes, he could run. Yes, he was fast. Yes, he was black. Who cared?
His running got him attention. His running got him a scholarship to Penn State. His running got him to the 1936 Olympics, 800 meter dash. With his foot in THEIR door, John decided to play HIS game: "On the first lap, I was on the inside, and I was trapped. I knew that the rules of running said if I tried to break out of a trap and fouled someone, I would be disqualified. At that point, I didn’t think I could win, but I had to do something."
He was done with THEIR game. THEIR game could only get him so far. THEIR game would cost him an opportunity. "I didn’t panic. I just figured if I had only one opportunity to win, this was it. I’ve heard people say that I slowed down or almost stopped. I didn’t almost stop. I stopped, and everyone else ran around me.”
Thanks to the Moms and Dads. Grandfathers and Grandmothers. Neighbors. Uncles and Aunts. Teachers. The folks that had the strength, courage, and conviction to play their OWN game. The folks that made our opportunities more attainable. We remember.