I am Xavier Spells, a 28 year old African-American male in pursuit of my teaching credential, master’s degree and coaching career. Born in Oakland, CA. I’ve spent time living in Chicago, Illinois and Indianapolis, Indiana before ultimately being raised for a majority of my life in Moreno Valley, CA. I am also a former collegiate athlete, who coaches boys’ basketball for Orange Vista High School and AAU boys’ basketball for DTermined Athletics.
The unique gifts and strengths that I bring to the world are positive energy and motivation. Very rarely will you catch me without a smile or laughing despite any adversity that I am faced with. For example,I actually struggled with athletic eligibility issues when I transferred from junior college to the university level. It had nothing to do with my GPA or grades, it was actually because some classes didn’t transfer over when I transferred schools; which caused me to be a few units shy. I was playing catch up for quite some time. During that time, I was involved in a car accident which caused a major setback. I was a delivery driver in a different city, so I could no longer work. Which meant no basketball, being in between jobs, using public transportation, and resorting to asking for rides. All of this humbled me and showed me there is more to life than just basketball. It allowed me to appreciate the everyday things I had taken for granted of for so long. During these trials, I learned that life will be filled with challenges and obstacles…some in which we cannot control. I had to learn how to look at everything in an optimistic light and continue to preserve toward my goals no matter what.
These challenges opened up other doors and avenues for me and taught me how to make adjustments without panicking. Often we panic when we are forced to make changes that were unforeseen. I learned sometimes it is about flipping those would be losses into lessons and applying them so that I could benefit from them in the future. Adversity doesn’t mean it’s over. It’s a test to see how bad you really want what’s on the other side of the hard times.
Overall, when I look back at my experiences thus far, I am proud to say that I see the positive in every situation, in every person and I am very optimistic. At the same time, I am a very motivated individual and seek to motivate and inspire others. I am driven to fire others up and motivate them to attain whatever they dream and set out to accomplish. I am very supportive of others even if I cannot benefit from what they are doing in any way. I love to see others happy.
My positivity stems from my Christian faith. I’ve learned over time from various situations and scenarios that God has me. Regardless of the outcome, life goes on and I’m blessed to experience every lesson life has taught, good or bad. We learn from the bad just as we learn from the good. In fact, we may learn far more from a negative situation. It’s the situations that help us learn who we are and how strong we really are. My favorite scripture, Philippians 4:13 reads says “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” I truly believe, and it helps me remain positive no matter what I am faced with because it doesn’t say “a few” or “some”, it states “all”. So my positivity stems from knowing that if God bring me to it, he will bring me through it.
I derive my strength from my mother, growing up she raised my sister and myself. I watched her work her butt off so that my sister and I would never have to go without. She instilled values of hard work in us at an early age. When we lived in Chicago, there were mornings we would have to wake up at about 4 o’clock in the morning when it was snowing and freezing cold outside just so we could catch the bus and go to school. I grind so hard and work so hard so that one day she won’t have to work. I always tell myself “my job isn’t done, until she can be done at her job.” We never went without, even if that means she had to. She is motivation enough.
The moment I recognized my true power though was when I started coaching AAU and I saw the impact that I had on the youth. With each player that I came across, I always made sure that my presence was felt and that it was made aware that it was deeper than just what took place on the floor, that it was more than just basketball. I was able to do this and I am currently able to have an impact and significant influence by embedding myself into my players’ lives. Whether it be a recital that they are in, other sports they may play, a band performance, receiving awards at school, graduations and promotions, and even religious ceremonies and events outside of my own religious beliefs. One of my favorite things about coaching for DTermined Athletics is the family culture we have. My ability to be personable has helped me retain a tight relationship with all of my players; even after they no longer are playing for me.
I believe my youth helps play a significant role in being able to connect with the youth of different communities because I can relate to them since I once was in their shoes. I understand their situations and circumstances. I am connected with what they have going on in their lives, the music, the relationships, different family dynamics, school. All of those things help understand my players and in turn, help them along their journeys in life.
I strongly believe the ability to be able to be passionate with others is a power I possess. This is my passion, to impact the youth and help them become the best versions of themselves, and provide them with positive alternatives other than what they might be accustomed to or believe they are destined for, due to their situation(s), their parents’ situation(s), their friends’ situation(s), whoever or whatever. I am here to provide positivity and light, even if they don’t know what that is, can’t see it, or believe it.
I still hope to overcome myself. I often get in my own way and slow down my own progress for whatever reasons, whether it be complacency or overthinking situations. I still hope to attain my goals of teaching, coaching at a high level, changing lives, and making a significant impact in my community, surrounding communities and others around me.
I measure my own personal growth by my approach to certain situations and scenarios and how I’ve changed/matured in reactions. I often reflect on where I started and how far I’ve come and that’s in all aspects of my life, spiritually, physically, mentally, and emotionally. What I let bother me, where my focus was and where it currently is and then realizing that growth and development is continuous and that I am far from my finished product. Every day I am learning and growing and that is never ending.
If I could give any advice to another person of color on how they can embrace their individual power and be themselves unapologetically. I would tell them to do be the best version of themselves and to improve on that each and every day. To do them, do what makes them happy, embrace who they are and don’t conform to the others, or the world’s opinion of them. I would tell them to write their own narrative about them through their actions and to shock the world with their narrative. People will always have their opinions but it’s your life to do whatever you want with it, so don’t let them tell you how to live your life and don’t let them live your life. YOU live your life and YOU dictate your own happiness and WHO you are. Don’t EVER apologize for being you or doing what you want to do. If people can’t accept you for who you are or who you are trying to be, then they don’t deserve you! Remember this, in the morning when you look in the mirror and at night when you look in the mirror it’s just you! Whatever decision(s) you make reflect YOU and no one else, so stay true to you and know your worth! Believe in you and always be confident!
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