The Story Behind “The Small-town Hero”


Straight A’s, the high school quarterback, and the “Small-Town Hero”; You would think he has a perfect life, right? Photo Source: Verywell Family

He was the small-town hero that everyone loved. The prestigious quarterback never lets anyone down. His grades placed him in the top 10 percent of his class. He seemed to have a perfect life and had many “friends,” but no one truly knew him. No one knew that his father passed away the day before his fifth birthday. No one knew his mom worked 16-hour shifts at the local restaurant, just trying to make ends meet for the week. No one knew that, on some days, he wasn’t sure when his next meal would come. No one knew the life behind the persona that he portrayed. One day, his worst fear came true: His true self was exposed. He broke up with his girlfriend while handling all of his struggles. Acting out of anger, she uncovered the truth. She posted screenshots revealing his challenges, and word got around to the entire school. His phone started blowing up with text messages, but that was not unusual for him. He began to read them a few moments later, and a tear fell from his cheek. His phone flew across the room, banging against the wall, his face hidden in the pillow on the floor. “What are they going to think of me? No one was ever supposed to find out. Everyone looked up to me, trying to make their life better.” As he cried, he heard the front door open, and his mother called out to him, announcing she was home. Quickly, he wiped the tears off of his face and walked to the kitchen to greet her. She could tell something was wrong, and he instantly broke down once again. “Everyone…knows…” he tried regaining his breath in between the words. She understood he never wanted anyone to believe that even the hero could struggle, but she knew people would find out eventually. “I’m so sorry, sweetie,” she said. All he wanted to do was sleep, so he went back to his room and curled himself into a ball on his bed. His mom walked in not long after he fell asleep, covered him up with a blanket, then kissed his forehead. He didn’t go to school the next day or the next. He stayed in bed all week, feeling isolated and no longer like the small-town hero.