Growing up as a kid, I can remember my parents telling me how important it is to work hard in life and strive to get the opportunities that I really want. Many people hear words like these from their parents as children but not many carry those words for the rest of their life and live up to the potential that they carry. It is the successful people in life who know about hard work and what it takes to achieve their goal. The men in the National Football League go through grueling hours, night and day to earn a job that a very small percentage of people get to do in the world. Hard work and determination are key’s of success in the NFL and must be standards of living if you want to stay in the league. New York Jet, Alex Green exemplifies these standards as he has worked hard through adversity in his journey to the NFL.
From a young age, Alex Green knows what it is like to work through adversity. Through elementary school and high, school Green always seemed to struggle no matter how hard he would try. He would do all of his homework, read every textbook that he was asked, but still could not figure out how his grades seemed to never get better.
“Every time the test scores came back to me, it was 40 percent, 50 percent. If I’m lucky, 70 percent. I’m like, ‘Man, I just cannot get a solid grade.’ I thought it was me. I thought I wasn’t doing something right.”
Due to his poor grades in high school, the all-star football and track athlete was forced to attend Butte County Community College instead of heading to a division one school. He continued to excel in football, as he led his team to the 2008 junior college national championship and brought them to a perfect 12-0 record. However, in the class room the story was the same. He could not get his grades up and he did not understand why. Again he studied as hard as he could and even took on the challenge of taking 26 credit hours at Butte, but he continued to fail courses.
If Green could not get his grades up in junior college, his football career would dwindle away. He needed to get into a Division I college to continue to progress in football and hopefully reach his dream on one day playing in the NFL. On top of all of this Green conceived a daughter and knew he would not be able to provide for her if his grades did not improve.
In his last semester of junior college Green had no money to pay for a place to stay so he became homeless. He slept in his car in a Wal-Mart parking lot and told no one about it.
“Alex doesn’t like to bother people if he’s having problems.” Says his mother Phyllis Smith; “He likes to work them out himself.”
Green contemplated quitting school and football to go back home to work, but after a talk with one of his teammates he reconsidered and stuck around to play for his daughter.
“I had a daughter and two months left to finish school. I said, ‘I’m not going to go back home. I’m going to stay here and finish it by any means necessary.”
After a long grueling semester of bouncing from sleeping in a Wal-Mart parking lot to crashing on several of his teammates floors and couches, Green finished junior college and got his degree. The next step was to get into a Division I college. Many schools turned down Green due to his grades and it seemed as if he would never get the opportunity to continue his dream of playing football. One school gave him an opportunity due to his outstanding play on the field. It would be the school that would change his life forever, the University of Hawaii.
There at the University of Hawaii Alex Green met academic advisor Michelle Nixon. Nixon was also a learning specialist and when Green got to Hawaii she ran him through many IQ tests and discovered he was dyslexic. After years of not understanding why he always struggled in school Alex Green finally got the answer he was looking for.
“People always ask if I’m comfortable talking about dyslexia. I’m happy that I know. There are people that still don’t know they have it that are still in school. I was blessed to find out.”
Green began listening to audio books instead of reading textbooks and suddenly saw his grades turn around from D’s and F’s to A’s and B’s. He continued to excel in football as well. In his senior year at UH Green ran for 1,199 yards with 18 touchdowns. He was the first UH running back since 1992 to break the 1,000-yard mark. Green’s life seemed to change around for the best in the matter of 2 years and now he would get the chance to live his dream. Play in the NFL.
In 2011, Green was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the third round. He recently signed with the Jets and this weekend he will have the opportunity to show New York fans what he can do when the team makes the trip to Tennessee.
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