Public image is that tiny portion of ourselves that we allow others to see while we try and mask further unsightly traits of our personality which we are too afraid, embarrassed or shy to have revealed. How well we truly know someone is often not an easy question to answer honestly, as everyone seems to have something about themselves that they would rather keep hidden from the world around them. On the surface Trent Hamilton appeared to be your typical high school nerd. He was always reading, never bothering to socialize with anyone, participate in extracurricular activities or even date. Trent was constantly being harassed by the parade of jocks that seemed to rule the school, and everyone in it. Even the teachers would often look the other way while this badgering took place. What was odd about this situation is that Trent could have easily put an end to this torment at any time if he truly wanted to.
Trent's problems didn't start in high school. As far back as he could remember people seemed to constantly be picking on him. By the time he reached 5th grade he'd had enough. One day while he was helping his neighbor with some lawn work, Mr. Osaka noticed that Trent was unusually quiet, and a bit down. After inquiring about his mood, and a bit of prodding, it finally came out how the boy, was being tormented by his classmates.
"Tell me my son, if you were physically able to seek revenge against those bully's what would you do to them," Mr. Osaka asked?
"I won't lie and say that I have never dreamed about pounding their faces into the ground, but I really don't want to hurt anyone. Like my father, I hope to someday become a doctor. I plan to help people, not injure them, but I don't want to be hurt either. What I really wish is for them to just leave me alone," He said.
After pondering Trent's answer, Mr. Osaka asked the boy to accompany him indoors, where he proceeded to explain his proposal. Handing Trent a photo of his deceased wife, Mr. Osaka went on to explain that they were very much in love, but through unfortunate circumstances, unable to have any children.
"My father was an expert in martial arts. He taught me very well, and I always hoped that I would be able to pass this training onto my own son. Alas that dream will never be fulfilled. I am; however, willing to teach you what I have learned. You seem like a good boy Tent, and I see a lot of promise in you. I am not doing this so that you can go beat up those bully's at school. As with any tool, it is a man's choice whether to it for good or evil purposes. The study of martial arts is a conditioning of the mind as well as the body. Your training will be very disciplined, but in the end you will acquire skills that will not only help to keep you safe, but will also give you insight into the Japanese belief that one's health is directly connected to their spirit and way of living. You will learn aggressive fighting techniques and when to use them. I will even introduce you many ancient Japanese remedies that although work quite effectively, have been dismissed by the main stream medical professionals of this country as nothing more than backwoods medicine," Mr. Osaka stated to the stunned lad.
"But Sir, why would you do all of this me, I barely know you," Trent asked?
"I see something very special in you. One thing my training has taught me is to trust my instincts. Right now they are telling me that you will one day make me a very proud man," Mr. Osaka replied.
That is exactly what Trent set out to do. He worked out practically every day with Mr. Osaka, and as his body became fit, he noticed that his mind was becoming sharper and more focused than it had ever been before. Trent was always smart, but with Mr. Osaka training there seemed to be nothing that he could not master. Since showing off was never his intention, Trent started to wear baggy clothing, in an attempt to hide his growing muscles, and athletic physique. He still got picked on in school, but now there was never any real danger of him being severely injured, and just the knowledge that he could literally wipe the floor with any one of those chumps made their tormenting almost humorous in a way.
Becky Watson was the captain of the girls cheerleading squad. She was a blond hair, blue eyes goddess that to Trent was the epitome in which all young ladies should be measured against. Unlike the other popular girls in school, Becky was always nice to him, but he knew that is as far as it would ever go. She was dating one of the jerks on the football team that was constantly harassing him, and Trent was sure that if they ever broke up she would have a line of suitors waiting in the wing just itching for the chance to claim her as their own. Knowing this unfortunately did nothing to squelch the huge crush Trent developed for her.
One day while he was in the library studying, Tent accidently overheard a conversation between Becky and Stacy Anderson.
"So Becky, how did the career day go for you," She asked?
"Not very well I'm afraid," Becky meekly replied.
"Why not, I thought you had your heart set to becoming a nurse," Stacy asked?
"I do, but the councilor said that it is very tough to earn a cheerleading scholarship. My grades are good, but unfortunately not high enough to be considered for an academic scholarship either. My Mom just doesn't make enough money to help me out, and since my Dad left her before I was born, I guess that I am just on my own," Becky replied disheartened.
To Trent this news was heart wrenching. He attended several of Becky's classes, and knew that she was a very bright girl. It wasn't her fault that her family was not well off. She deserved a chance to succeed in life, and he was now more determined than ever to see that she received one.
Trent started researching athletic scholarships, and was discouraged to find that her councilor's assessment of them was pretty accurate. Digging a little deeper he did learn that even though there was money available to cheerleaders, it usually only went to girls from well-known schools. The scouts seemed to travel in groups, only visiting faculties with winning sports teams. He discovered that it was far more likely for Becky to be granted assistance, if their school football team started winning more games.
Being unable to come up with any other possible solution, Trent decided that his best course of action would be to help insure that not only Becky and her other teammates became the absolute best cheerleaders that any high school has ever seen, but he now also had the added burden of helping to turn the jocks he had come to despise, into state champions. Realizing that they would never take direction from him, regardless of how good it was, Trent resolved to use a little play on words and in so doing the infamous Mr. E. was born.
Mr. Osaka had noticed Trent's uncanny ability to memorize and retain mass quantities of information. With his help, Trent was able to train his brain to be near photographic at times. Setting out to learn everything he possibly could about football and cheerleading, Trent started to formulate plays and choreograph cheers. He began to print them out, and then made sure that the respective coaches would find his little gifts, which he always signed at the bottom of the page from Mr. E.
At first his suggestions were just dismissed as someone's elaborate prank, but it wasn't long before the coaches started to notice the sheer genius in his methods. When they began to use his plays, and subsequently started to win most of their games, the school began to buzz about their mysterious benefactor. When the cheerleading squad added his detailed correlations to their tumbling acts it created a style that quite frankly was unsurpassed by any other team.
Word eventually leaked to the press about the unidentified stranger that kept providing these unique strategies, and soon the hype was creating quite a stir. Couches and scouts were beginning to take notice, as fans started packing the stands for every game. Trent had to become very creative, in not only developing his plays and cheers, but also in the methods for which he used to delivering them. The last thing he wanted was to be found out and exposed as Mr. E. The one person that he did share his secret with was Mr. Osaka. The old man beamed with pride when Trent revealed his reason for doing it.
"I told you that one day you would make me very proud. You think outside of the norm my son. Your obvious love for this girl supersedes your animosity towards those jocks," Mr. Osaka stated.
"I never said that I loved her, only that I felt she deserved a chance at a decent life where she wouldn't have to rely on some jerk to support her," Trent replied.
"Oh believe me my son, your motivation is love. It is written all over your face. When are you going to stop hiding and tell her how you really feel," He asked?
"I'd never have a chance with someone like her. Besides she already has a boyfriend," Trent said.
"What do you think she would do if she found out that you are Mr. E.," He asked?
"I never plan to tell her that. If by some miracle she would ever show any interest in me I wouldn't want it to be because she felt grateful for what I had done," Trent answered.
"You are very wise my son, and in some ways quite naive as well. At any rate I promise to keep your secret," He said.
.... There is more of this story ...