Film & Theater The Arts Justice

Colin in Black & White

CJ Quartlbaum

On October 29, Netflix released Colin in Black & White. The series centers around Colin Kaepernick’s high school years and tackles a variety of issues involving race, history, and his life as a teenager trying to find his way in the world. 

One of the prevailing themes is Colin trying to find his true calling. He was a star baseball player and was one of the best pitchers in his high school class. Every college in the country wanted him and a few Major League teams did as well, but his heart was always on the football field. Because of that, he was determined to succeed in football against all odds. 

It wasn’t just that everyone was pursuing him to play baseball but also that nobody, absolutely nobody, was looking at him for football. He turned down every baseball offer along with a possible multimillion-dollar career and decided to bet on himself. He was determined to grind it out and do whatever was necessary to earn a football scholarship.

Many of us experience the same thing. We have the thing we want to do while being stuck doing what we have to do. This really hits home for me. Since I was ten years old I knew that I wanted to be a writer but my mother, being the good immigrant she is, made it clear that I would not be majoring in journalism. I needed to do something that would make money, and that led me to finance. I struggled my way through undergrad and then had a terrible five-year career on Wall St. before I was brave enough to call it quits. 

Lessons Learned

My time in finance wasn’t all a waste. I ended up learning a lot about myself, mainly my likes and dislikes. Similar to Colin, I didn’t want to have to play the game the White way. I eventually founded a non-profit and became the writer I always wanted to be. I needed the journey to get where I am today.

Colin needed the rejection. He needed to go to dozens of camps. And he needed to play that one basketball game, sick as a dog, that got him on Nevada’s radar and eventually to the NFL. Sometimes when you know what you want, you have to take the road less traveled to get there. 

There is a linear path that can be followed. Get the right grades, go to the right schools, work the right jobs, ascend the ladder, and retire high on the hog.  Many people who have chosen that path spend their entire careers unhappy and living for the weekend. They let their dreams die and are full of regret. They traded passion for safety and in many instances, it’s understandable. 

But if we choose to chase the dream and go after our true calling then we must accept that the road will come with a myriad of bumps and curveballs. If we’re honest, it doesn’t always end in success. Sometimes we fail. Colin achieved his dream only to have it ripped away from him prematurely. Perhaps though, football was just a stop on the journey to his true calling: activism. This is why we trust the process: we never know where we will end up.