The last one of Aletha’s recruits was Danny Kelso. She knew of Kelso’s failure in basketball and I am certain that she had a well-founded and accurate understanding of the injustice in it. When I listened to her pitch to Kelso, I felt even worse about cutting him from the team. This guy could have been playing ball; he was one step removed from that elite and untouchable fraternity and now he was going to attach himself to the debate team – the lowest caste in the school.
Aletha told Danny Kelso that he had better things coming to him. That if he played his cards right he would have a life and have successes the height and depth of which he could not yet imagine. She said that soon every problem he had and every failure and enmity he knew would fall like Pharaoh’s horsemen into the sea. She told him she had known other young men like him and that she knew that he had everything it took to excel and triumph. She said that his moral compass was right but that almost everyone around him was wrong – badly wrong. She told him that she knew what was bothering him. He was right to be upset, she said, but he would be foolish to allow his disappointment to cloud and dominate these days – these formative days that were before him. The right investments now would cost him something, but they would pay him dividends for life. She told him that his future was far bigger than he could contemplate and that this little society that he was so determined to impress and attach himself to would be the very thing that could hold him back and prevent his achievement. He should look forward, not back, and one day he would thank his stars that he was cut from my team.
He believed her.