As I was the only boy in my family, I lacked a male role model close enough to my age to guide me through my problems. I felt as if my father was too old to truly sympathize with me, and I didn’t have many older friends. Luckily, I met Carlos Hamilton during my freshman year of high school. Carlos filled the role of an older brother and helped me overcome various problems.
Carlos and I met during wrestling training camp. As a new wrestler, I looked up to him. Carlos embodied everything I wanted to be: he was a team captain, a leader, and most importantly, he was a section champion. As part of the training program, Coach Bag had paired the younger wrestlers with older wrestlers. Since Carlos and I were physically similar, we were partnered up. Much of my success that year was thanks to him. He had a rigorous workout plan: every day after school, we ran miles after miles, after which we would lift weights. He also practiced wrestling with me on some days, helping me perfect my technique. Thanks to him, I was one of the best conditioned and technically-found wrestlers at the beginning of season.
As the wrestling season progressed, so did our friendship. Carlos and I talked a lot during wrestling. Since we were practice partners, we often discussed faults in each other’s technique. Wrestling with each other built a bond between us in which we became best friends. Soon, I found myself spending more and more time with him. Not only would we hang out during wrestling, we would also get together during school or our free weekends. At one point, Carlos and I even dated two sisters and went on double dates with them.
After hanging around Carlos for so much time, I quickly started to become like him. Since he was two years older than me, Carlos taught me how older teenagers acted. I tried to mimic everything about him; I took on his clothing style, his slang, his preferences, and even is opinions.
Imitating Carlos was not always the smartest thing to do. For...