The last day that I set foot at Dimmitt High School was back in 1976. That's 43 years ago! Raised in the Texas Panhandle, I lost half my vision due to a freak accident when I was a five-year-old kid. The intense obstacles that I encountered, while living in poverty, were brutal. I was the type of kid that wanted to be normal -- searching for answers on how to overcome such challenging life situations. My inner thoughts told me that no one should endure such horrible episodes. As I was healing from a major surgery and learning how to adapt, I was called names and I was made fun of by many kids, whether in my rough neighborhood or at school.
That's how my life story began. My story didn't start out as an uplifting situation or a happy visual. I knew that I had to take action in order to survive the bullying and the brick walls I would face. As I grew older I was tired of the negative people and the running-away from the normal-kid life. I should have been enjoying my youth days. I did everything I could to improve myself as an athlete, a student, or a musician. If there was a skill set that I felt could be an influencer to others in the way they saw me, I would practice to improve it as much as I possibly could.
The skill sets that I fell in love with were related to sports. Sports became my counseling and my medicine. Most of my former classmates from Dimmitt, Texas, would remember how well I shot the basketball, punted and kicked the football, or high jumped for the Dimmitt Bobcats.
Let me share one example with you. In my first varsity football game vs. the Muleshoe Mules, as a sophomore, I punted the football sixty yards in the air! What a great feeling that was. I'll never forget hearing the loud crowd up in the stadium seats. There are many other great moments in my life, but this one was just the beginning.
People used to walk up to me and say, "You are so lucky you can kick the ball so far." They did not know how many years I worked on my skill set. Oh yes, it took place on NE 4th and Dulin Street. It was a dirt road and I used an old football that was given to my mom in a box full of other toys for us kids -- we were a family of eight.
In the education world, I would study hard to compete against my classmates for a better test score. What a great feeling it was to score a perfect 100 in a spelling test inside Mrs. Hauf's class, or an A in Libby Cleveland's freshman algebra class. I was even happy to get a C or a B in Mr. Ellison's history class. They say that hard work pays off. I truly believe it does. If I fell down 3 times, I'd get up 5 times. If you practice anything over and over, there's no choice but to get better. It's all about a growth-mindset.
I don't want to eliminate the amazing people that came into my life. People like Coach Durham, Coach Cleveland, Coach Lantz, and many more. Not just coaches, there were also teachers and other local people. Without them, it would have been much more difficult to overcome. And without parents and siblings like mine, the challenges would have been a nightmare. I'm so thankful to my family.
To keep this short and to the point, in 1978 I graduated from Gervais High School in Oregon, where I now live. I went on to play professional football as a punter and field-goal kicker. I graduated from Chemeketa Community College -- Computer Science major and minored in theatre arts and writing.
It was not easy hunting for a job after I graduated, however, because of my persistence I landed a job as a software engineer and worked in that field for 31 years and 3 months. I enjoyed writing so much that I retired at age 55 and became a fulltime author. I have published 6 books. My most recent is my autobiography, Half Blind with Full Vision, where I narrate my entire life with precise details. Many of the chapters are about my Dimmitt life. You will read about how I overcame and succeeded. Many of my readers have called my story, a true and resilient story.
I'm not bragging on my accomplishments, so please don't take it that way. I'm sharing with the world that if I did it, so can any person. I would like to help by sharing what guided me and what drove me. What was it that inspired me to keep going and never give up? The top of that list was faith.
In my book, I wrote about my family packing up and leaving Dimmitt. It was my dad's decision and I was not given a choice. I didn't get a chance to say goodbye to any of my classmates, coaches, teachers, etc. Just when everything was coming together for me in a small town, we moved -- it was a sad day for me. My mental state was pretty low. Eventually I worked through the hurt by meeting my high-school sweetheart in Oregon and playing sports. I found that love to practice, compete, and have fun. The move was a blessing in disguise, because I do love it here in Oregon. I will always have Dimmitt inside my heart. I learned so much growing up in that small town.
My wife and I are excited to fly down to Dimmitt, Texas! I hope to see some of my classmates and their parents that knew me. If you are from Castro County or surrounding areas, come on out to my event. I'd love to meet you.
Thursday September 26, 2019
Keynote at Dimmitt High School 9:00am - 10:00am ... I want to share insights and inspire the students of DHS -- I came from poverty and escaped that life -- I found a way to overcome getting bullied -- I educated myself for a great job. If you are a former classmate and would like to attend this event, please contact the high school. Let them know that I welcome you if it's okay with the school.
Friday September 27, 2019
KDHN Twister Radio Show 9:10am ... Interview.
Saturday September 28, 2019
Book Signing at Rhoads Memorial Library 9:00am to 12:00pm ... I'm inviting anyone that can make it to this event -- I'd love to meet you. I plan to bring 20 books. I have no idea who might want to purchase a signed book from me. I can't bring too many books on the plane, however, if you could somehow reach out to me at: email@example.com and let me know which books you want, that would help me out a ton.
My six book titles I plan to bring:
10 "Half Blind with Full Vision"
2 "NOZA: A True Basketball Success Story"
2 "Poor Kid, Wealthy Kid"
2 "Poor Kid, Wealthy Kid II"
2 "Parenting The Athlete"
2 "The Professor - Grayson Boucher Plus ..."
Book descriptions or to order an autographed copy online: www.davidespi.com
If for any reason I happen to sell out at this event, you can pay me there and I will mail you a copy when I return to Oregon.
Thank you to Christine Arnold at DHS, Todd at KDHN Twister Radio, and Gaye Reily at Rhoads Memorial Library -- this would not be possible without kind people like you. Much love from Oregon. I want to especially thank my wife, Loni, for taking time off of her teaching job to assist me on this Dimmitt journey. Go Bobcats!