Williams is not easily broken
by Donell Maxie
Oct 22, 2013 | 2486 views | 0 0 comments | 40 40 recommendations | email to a friend | print
East Side's Kelvin Williams, Jr. has overcome a great deal of adversity with his health to thrive in competitive sports.
East Side's Kelvin Williams, Jr. has overcome a great deal of adversity with his health to thrive in competitive sports.
Friday nights in the fall are filled with young men who play football under the bright lights in intimate stadiums all across America.

They strap on their shoulder pads and lace up their cleats in an attempt to become for at least 48 minutes gridiron gods.

The dream of running onto the field with teammates, the feel of the earth trembling underneath their feet and the roar of the crowd in response to a game winning touchdown or game saving tackle is something that many young men have the pleasure to enjoy first hand.

For Kelvin Williams, Jr., an 18 year-old senior at East Side High School, his reality is a little different from most of the seniors playing for the Trojan football team this season.

At 6-1, 215-pounds, Williams Jr. has faced and is facing adversity that has tested and bent his will, but never broke his drive to be the best athlete he could be.

In the eighth grade, Williams enjoyed a phenomenal year playing for D.M. Smith Middle School. As a linebacker and center on the team, Williams helped lead Coach Terry Nolden's team to an undefeated season.

In addition to going unbeaten, Williams Jr., was one of the major reasons the defense did not allow a touchdown to be scored all season.

"He was a great player and a smart one. He was very physical and had a great deal of potential on the football field," said Nolden.

In the spring of his eighth grade year, Williams Jr., had a routine physical and it was discovered that he was releasing too much protein in his urine.

In the fall of his ninth grade year, there was a biopsy done and it was determined that there was scaring of the tissue on one of his kidneys.

Williams Jr., was diagnosed with Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) and the family was then informed that it would be ill advised for Williams Jr. to compete in any contact sport, which immediately crushed his football dreams.

"I loved playing football and I couldn't believe what I heard from the doctor,” Williams Jr. said. “I was heart-broken because I wanted to play high school football and eventually go on to play college football, it broke me down."

An emotional Sheriff Kelvin Williams Sr., said having to talk to his young son, who was having a hard time understanding what was going on with his body was one of the toughest things he had to do.

"I called him in and the first thing he asked me was why? I told him that God does things that we just couldn't understand and immediately we both started crying. As a father I knew he was hurting and I had to explain to a 14 year-old that God had blessed him to be in the position he was in," said a teary eyed Williams, Sr.

For some that would be the end of the story, but for Williams Jr. and his family it was just the beginning.

With football being completely ruled out, Williams Jr. turned to something else and this something allowed him to scratch his competitive itch and make waves, literally. Williams Jr., got focused and transformed his sorrow into dancing or better yet swimming.

"We always encouraged our kids and pushed them to participate in multiple things so he had swimming and baseball. The whole objective for sports was to go to college and get your academics paid for. He understood he was blessed because he had parents who supported him no matter what he does," said Williams Sr.

Currently, Williams is proving he is indeed blessed. Along with his younger brothers Glenn (15) and Allen (12) the Williams brothers comprise the entire East Side High swim team. The Trojans have three swimmers and all three are brothers.

"It’s a really fun thing to compete in something. I love the fact that I get to do it with my brothers and represent for East Side High School," said Williams Jr.

In his 10th grade year, Williams finished third in the state in the 100-yard butterfly and fourth in the 50-yard freestyle. In his 11th grade year, Williams Jr. turned in a strong state performance coming in fourth in the 100-yard freestyle and third in the 50-yard freestyle.

This season Williams Jr. along with Glenn and Allen are working to all make it to the state swim meet.

The example that Kelvin Sr. and Dr. Glendscene Williams, (mother) set for their boys is evident in how the boys work in the classroom and on the playing field.

"My wife and I both come from single family homes. Our drive has been not to fail and her drive is to get to the highest point she can so that we can be a great example to our kids. She recently completed her doctorate and in the midst of following these boys we have been able to both reach our individual goals," said Williams Sr.

In addition to exceling in swimming, all three boys are a part of the Trojans baseball team and all three are honor students.

Williams Jr. is Mr. East Side for the 2013-14 school year and he maintains a 3.9 grade point average. Williams has already scored a 20 on the ACT, but plans to take it again because he wants to score higher.

"I believe that you can do anything, but you have to believe and work hard. My parents are great and they have always pushed us. It was hard at first to deal with the news that I wasn't going to play football, but I've learned to live with it and I think it has made all of us stronger," said Williams Jr.