Too often those ideas are entrenched in my thinking. I recently was jolted out of those patterns of thought by a story I read about Lisa Fenn. Four years ago she was a television producer for ESPN, creating human interest features with a sports connection. One of those stories changed her life. She took on the task of telling the story of Dartanyon Crockett and Leroy Sutton, a couple of African American high school students from Cleveland. The sports connection was that Dartanyon was a star on the Lincoln West wrestling team and Leroy was a teammate. These two were best friends. They went everywhere together. They both showed remarkable grace, strength of character and humor in situations that were beyond sad and depressing. They were downright tragic.
Lisa could not bear to simply tell the story of these two young men and then walk away. She says she had to stay connected to them and try to help. She couldn’t bear to be next on the list of people who walked out on them after earning their trust. “I stayed because my heart was too heavy for my legs to walk away. Dark clouds hung over every turn of Dartanyon’s and Leroy’s lives, and I found myself pleading with the heavens to end this madness.”
Lisa’s story provoked responses from people all over the world, people who wanted to help. Lisa herself did all she could to help the two. And she has made a difference. This August Leroy, the first in his family to graduate from high school, will be the first to graduate from college. Dartanyon ended up at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. He won a bronze medal in judo at the Paralympics in 2012. The story is at http://espn.go.com/espn/otl/story/_/id/9454322/why-stayed.
The problems of the world are truly overwhelming, the needs so vast that it seems like nothing I can do will change it. But the story of Leroy and Dartanyon are a reminder that we can do something to change one person’s world. All it takes is some love and a little bit of effort.