Winning Essay by Joshua S., Catawba College
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I was adopted from Ethiopia in December of 2014 and was immediately introduced to the game of the American football. At the time the Panthers were in the playoffs. I remember watching the games when the Carolina Panthers played against the Arizona Cardinals and the Seattle Seahawks. The Panthers ended up losing to the Seahawks and were out of the playoffs. The thing I remember most about that time was that here was so much negativity around the Panthers quarterback Cam Newton. Since I was new to America and the game of football, I didn’t understand why the media was tearing Cam apart; it sure made me pay more attention to him. The more I started watching Cam, the more I realized that he was not the villain the media portrayed him to be.

What inspired me about Cam was seeing him be himself on the field and off the field despite what the media said about him. Most people usually fall for the negativity and act poorly in return. But not Cam. Cam does all the good work when there is no camera around him. He cares so much about young people. Watching him give away a football to children after every touchdown and seeing the big smiles on those young kids’ faces makes me want to do the same. Cam never stops having fun and being happy. That is a hard thing to do when so much bad stuff is said about you. But nothing seems to stop Cam from living each day joyfully. And the great work he does through the Cam Newton Foundation is inspirational. He runs that organization with the slogan that everyone matters. He provides support for kids in Charlotte and the Atlanta area who are from low income families.

Cam has made me love football. Cam has taught me how to be a good person and to never stop being happy despite what bad others might say about me. Cam has inspired me to be a caring person and has taught me to do good works for the sake of doing the right thing — out of genuine love and not just to get publicity or promotion from others.

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