After his last football season ended, student-athlete Elijah Poore started skipping class and eventually, became ineligible to play for his school’s football team. But with the guidance of his coach and a reason to stay committed, Elijah found the will to dramatically alter the course of his life.
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Ask student-athlete Elijah Poore about being raised in Oklahoma City, and he’ll tell you he “just grew up at a bad time in a bad part of the neighborhood.”
To make it in Elijah’s world, a kid needs strong character.
You can tell a lot about a person’s character by listening to the stories other people share about them. Unfortunately for Elijah, word was spreading that he was ditching school and refusing to complete classwork during the offseason.
When Elijah found out he was ineligible to play football, he became devastated. He felt like everyone around him was giving up on him, until Coach Juan Lozano stepped in.
Football helps young men learn how to be young men.
The Capitol Hill High School football coach didn’t give up so easily, because he knew Elijah was simply uninspired.
Coach Lozano understands that a strong character relies on an honored commitment. And for student-athletes to truly commit to something, they need to, first, feel inspired.
During the regular season, motivation to perform better in school came easier to Elijah, because his grades got him on the field.
But in the offseason, school felt useless.
Coach Lozano understood this and went out of his way to help change Elijah’s mindset.
He helped instill commitment into Elijah’s character during the offseason by inspiring him to play for his family and future.
Elijah became more inspired and learned to understand that a player’s will is determined during the grueling hours on the practice field, not just under the lights on Friday night.
Over the course of one summer under Coach Lozano’s guidance, Elijah changed the way he approached football and school.
The kid who almost lost his spot on the roster earned a character award for his commitment to the team.
Now, instead of encountering negative influences from the “bad place” he grew up, Elijah is back on the field with mentors and friends who are fully invested in building his character and seeing him change for the better.