Penn State senior safety Lamont Wade gave a powerful interview Friday afternoon, discussing very personal topics and revealing great insight into who he is, where he’s from and what he’s overcome.
Wade, a Clairton, Pa., native, discusses his young son, growing up in a “dark hole” where some of his best friends wound up getting killed or going to jail, and how football and family have helped him break away from everything.
On how having his son changed his life:
Fatherhood probably changed my life for the best because it grounded me, more to a sense of my more human side now. When I had my son, I stopped caring about what everybody else thought. I stopped caring about what everybody else did. And I just decided that I’m living for me and him now.
Before, I was kind of worried about getting comments or backlash from people, or I was worried about just everything that didn’t really matter. So I guess having him brought that sense of what I’ve really got to do, that sense of priorities to me.
What kinds of adversity did he face growing up, and is that motivation to provide a better life for himself and his son:
Where I come from, honestly, it’s some disconnect from different parts of America, or other Americas that other people experience, because of the low-income area. So many different low-income housing areas. It’s honestly like a dark hole, nothing really good comes out of it. Tyler was able to be one of the first guys –Tyler Boyd, he graduated back in 2013, plays for the Cincinnati Bengals now — he was able to be one of those players who got over that. But there’s not a lot of things like that. There were players better than me, family members better than me who never got the opportunity I did simply because they didn’t have the support or simply because nobody cared for them.
I feel like all those, that dark hole, all those obstacles, the things I had to do to make a living, I feel like it all made me who I am. But at the same time, that’s why I make that music. I make that music to express it, to get it out, then after I get it out, I just try to build positivity on everything else.
On the support he has in his life and what it would mean to reach the NFL:
That’s one thing that I can say kept me grounded, because I have best friends sitting in jail right now. I have best friends dead right now. My support system is literally what kept me from being dead or in jail. So I thank my family tremendously. Whenever I get to that next level, I can’t wait to be a blessing to somebody else. That’s my biggest thing about making it to the next level. It’s gonna be cool whenever I make it and everything, rah-rah. But I can’t wait to be a blessing for my mother, as much as she’s sacrificed for me. I can’t wait to be a blessing for my grandmother, as much as she’s sacrificing.
Did he think he’d be playing college football this fall?
In my head, yeah, I kind of thought it was all over for, and I just had to adjust your thinking whenever that happens. But I’m so happy it came back.
On wearing a patch on his uniform for social justice:
You never want to shun anybody’s differences. You never want to say, oh, because they think this way, screw them, or anything like that. Because that’s not the case. Everybody matters, so you want to take everybody’s feelings and everything into account.