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Traditional values can sometimes sway us to do wrong things parallel to our own personal beliefs. People, places, and things shape these values and cause us to surrender to situations that neither influence nor hold our interest. This is a scary concept: What if one of these situations put our life or someone else’s life in danger? This is a question that crossed my mind when I thought about conformity in my life. One memory in particular involves my football team.
As did Langston Hughes in his experience with conformity, I too felt pressure from my peers to do something I didn’t want to do. During my sophomore year, my teammates wanted to take part in hazing a younger freshman football player. They asked me to help them take all of his equipment out of his locker, find him, and beat him up.
This went against my personal beliefs. In no way did I want to take part in something that had to do with the humiliation of another teammate. Also, when I was younger, I had to go through the same thing, and it hurt me deeply. Then and now, I looked at my own embarrassment as something I don’t ever want to see someone else go through.
Before I gave my answer to my teammates, other consequences rolled through my head; hazing is illegal, and if convicted, the offender would be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. I was doing well both on and off the field, so why mess it up? So I devised a plan. I would agree to help my teammates, but I would also agree to help the young freshman find his equipment and help him elude a vicious beat-down.
“Well are you gonna help us or not?” the quarterback of my team impatiently asked.“Yeah sure…” I said, “Just let me take care of everything ‘cause I really don’t like this kid.”
He looked at me and smiled. “There you go, Taylor!” He turned to the posse of football players, “We got a sophomore that’s stepp’n up!”
It was like I killed two birds with one stone and saved both my butt and the kid’s in one throw.
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