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Overcoming obstacles and achieving greatness

Photo courtesy of Texas State Athletics

Running can take a toll on an athlete mentally, physically and emotionally.

Tyrone Jackson, junior runner, has tackled those obstacles.

Jackson describes himself as very introverted and mellow. The junior puts his heart into the things he really cares about.

Jackson hopes to do something active and helpful in advocating for minority groups.

When Jackson was a freshman at Texas State he came out as bisexual to his family. He had to leave his mother’s home and move in with a guardian family.

“They were very religious and I opened up to them about me being bisexual,” Jackson said. “It wasn’t really for them, so I was cut off financially and socially. I was having to deal with that and to continue to go to college. In the athletic community, that’s not something you actually see. For the LGBT community athletes, there are not a lot of us out there.”

Jackson is mostly independent and is doing what he wants to do in life.

When he opened up, Jackson said he didn’t understand his identity. He went to the on-campus counseling services to talk to people who were sensitive and open about the LGBTQIA community.

“I didn’t understand the emotions that I was going through or how to deal with it—being cut off financially and socially from a group of people you call family,” Jackson said. “I really love Texas State for that. There are not a lot of campuses that I know of that are actually LGBT-friendly.”

Running helped Jackson get through his toughest times. He started at five years old and has loved it ever since. He remembers his first race like it was yesterday. Jackson came in second place racing against a boy named Julio, and he will never forget it.

“I loved the thrill of running, and later on in life it actually became my therapy for dealing with my hardships versus doing drugs or drinking beer,” Jackson said. “It helps me express myself in a way that I can’t really express myself. Running saved me. It helped me with getting a full-ride scholarship here at Texas State. Running gave me a second chance at life.”

Jackson has been injured about six times in high school and twice at Texas State. A foot sprain and tendinitis in his right knee are among the list of the athlete’s injuries.

He said coming back from injury is his biggest challenge.

“Being motivated to actually go after your goals after you come back from an injury. It could completely destroy you,” Jackson said. “You are so out of shape, and you feel so behind.”

Advocating for others is what Jackson hopes to do in the future. He hopes to stand up for individuals who cannot stand up for themselves.

“The insecurities that I have, I want to be able to get over that kind of stuff and be myself more,” Jackson said. “Once I can accomplish that, I want to be able to do that for other people. To look past their insecurities of whatever they are going through in life.”

This year, the cross country team had a new coaching staff and it was a big change for the Bobcat. Jackson said it was difficult, but he adapted.

“(The team said) something that was really interesting to me and true,” Jackson said. “‘If you have done everything that we have asked of you and you don’t succeed, then it is our fault. If you don’t do what we ask of you and you don’t succeed, then it is your fault.’ I bought into that philosophy and I started doing what (the coaches) told me to do. I put myself out there, and trust that I can put my heart into it.”

This athlete came home with big wins from the Sun Belt Conference Indoor Championships. He placed individually and with the team.

Jackson was dealing with depression about a year ago. The athlete felt people doubted him because he did not do so well last year.

He came in this season with a new attitude. He wanted to prove people wrong, and that was all the motivation he needed.

“You can doubt me all you want, but it is what I do that can change whether you believe it or not,” Jackson said. “You don’t even have to believe in me, I just need to believe in myself and actually go for it.”

Jackson said he believes in himself again. He has a new focus, and the Bobcat is going to do everything possible to succeed.