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A Walk in My Shoes

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By Leila Stewart

When I first move to a new place, I would say it takes approximately 10 days for everyone to figure out why I transferred from a school in some random state and why I am unable to answer the question, “Where are you from?”

When they ask me these questions the only answers I have are, “my dad’s job” and “nowhere really, I’ve moved around a lot.”

Some assumptions are made, like the fact that I must be an only child if my family can just pick up and move or that my dad must be in the military.

Then I have to tell them, “I have two sisters” and “my dad is a football coach.”

I hate having to come to that statement because, after that, no one looks at me the same, unless they don’t care much about sports or never looked at me in the first place.

There are always (at least) a few boys who say something along the lines of, “You’re really pretty, can you take me to a game sometime?”

That’s when I say “thank you,” and then “no thank you.” I feel like people expect me to do things for them because of the privileges I have from my dad’s job.

I can’t speak for any other coach’s daughter, but I don’t always feel that I am seen as a whole person.

I say this because everyone’s sucking up to me when my dad’s team is winning but when they lose I am treated as if it were my fault.

I always wished that someone could understand what it’s like to be me, because maybe then they would see that, as much as I like to come off as independent and unaffected, negativity from peers eventually gets to me.

Even if it’s not about me, and it’s about my dad.

Do people honestly believe that I enjoy listening to them talk trash on, not just someone they don’t even know, but my father?

In the process of games and scores, what people need to stop and think about is the fact that I hurt too, for reasons so much more important than a win or a loss.

I have gone to five different elementary schools, two middle schools, and, since I am moving again, I will now have gone to (at least) two high schools.

I know a thing or two about hellos, goodbyes, and all of the in betweens.

I used to get upset with not just the way people on social media talked about my dad and his teams, but the way I heard my peers talking, as if their life literally depended on the way his team played.

Growing older has helped me realize that hating the people who hate him, makes me no better than those Twitter trolls.

It’s not worth getting upset over, because I could be crying over and investing my emotions into so many better things, like Beyonce’s album, “Lemonade,” or anything Beyonce related really.

People can talk all they want, but no one will ever understand what it’s like to be in my shoes, and that’s okay. The only shoes we can ever be in are our own.

If anything, I feel sorry for people who feel the need to bring down others in order to feel better about their situation.

Football is my life and its involvement is the one thing that has never changed. This sport holds my family together, and my dad’s job allowed me to experience so much. Although these experiences have been both good and bad, they have made me who I am, and I am more than appreciative of that.

I grew up in the halls of my dad’s office, trying to get some food before his players ate it all, and in the stadium. People that my dad has known through the past 25 years of him coaching are no longer just football coaches in my eyes, they’re my family.

I know it’s so easy to get caught up in the game itself and the politics of it all, but I hope that people will see coaches and players not just for the job title, but for the people they are when they get home. When they aren’t a defensive coordinator or safety, but when they’re a father or a son.

The same goes for me. I am not a product of my dad’s career. I am not the new girl, the places I’ve lived, or the girl who’s moving away. I’m just a girl.

The next time someone asks me where I’m from and what my parents do, I will have to go through the whole process of explaining myself and trying to gage if they actually like me.

I will be disappointed by some and surprised by others and the first year of adjusting will be really hard. But above everything else, I have learned that despite everything that I’ve been through, everything that’s been said to me out of hate, and everything that has yet to happen, people are good at heart, you just have to give it a chance.

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The Student News Site of Lincoln Southwest High School
A Walk in My Shoes