Baby Girl, This Is What I Want You to Know About My Journey and My Dreams

To: My baby girl, Soriah Noelle Matthews

From: Lewis Matthews #57 (As told to Lauren Brill)

Do you want to become a better writer? Join our free writing workshop


To my baby girl, Soriah Noelle Matthews,

You’re only seven months old right now, but I want to tell you to start dreaming. I want to encourage you to dream big. Big goals and big dreams make life more fun. 

But I also want you to know pursuing those dreams won’t always be easy. 

I grew up in a small town, Ferriday, Louisiana. At four or five years old, I started playing football for the Ferriday Lil Trojans under the leadership of amazing and dedicated coaches. Right away, I loved it and dreamed of playing in the NFL one day. But in high school, I got overlooked. My team had two big guys, each 6-4 or 6-5. And the scouts only came to watch them play. 

In high school, I got overlooked

Although I was only 5-11, I was always making plays. When they needed a touchdown, I was that guy. When they needed a defensive stop, I was that guy. In my senior year, I was All-District. And I received many other honors and rewards, such as The Golden Helmet Award, given by my high school to recognize athletic and academic achievements. Still, the scouts from big-time programs didn’t notice me. 

Two schools offered me a scholarship: Jackson State and Mississippi College. But neither school had winning programs. I wanted to be a champion. My high school coach thought I should attend junior college, but that’s not what I wanted either. Instead, I decided to walk on at Grambling State. Grambling leads all the HBCUs in championships. Plus, my mother and auntie went to Gram. 

In my first year, there were nine guys ahead of me. I stayed patient. I waited for my time. Often, I didn’t go to the home or away games. But I stayed focused and worked out. Whenever I talked to my parents, your grandparents, they told me to keep grinding and pushing for what I wanted. 

In my sophomore year, around Covid, we only had a few games. But I got to play, and I opened my coaches’ eyes. They realized I had heart. I was a playmaker who could play sideline to sideline. Even so, they didn’t give me a scholarship. I didn’t complain. I just kept working. 

Enter Your Email to Unseal Premium Content

Log in to The Unsealed or enter your email below and subscribe to our free newsletter to read the rest of this letter

The following season we got a new coach, Hue Jackson. In my very first game with Coach Jackson, we played Arkansas State. I had 13 solo tackles and two assists. That was the game I started believing all my dreams were within reach. I finished that season with 103 tackles and earned All-SWAC second team.

At the end of the season, Coach Jackson called me into his office and said, “I think you have had a great season. I like what you’ve done. I am going to give you a scholarship.”

I was so excited but didn’t want to show him I was too excited. Once I left his office, I was jumping around. And then I called my mom. When I told her, it sounded like she threw the phone. But she was just jumping up and down and was so happy. 

She said to me, “I told you, son. It’s coming. Everything’s going to come out as planned. God has got you. So, stay on the right track, and keep working.”

Not long after, your mother called me. She asked me to come over. I did. And that’s when she told me she was pregnant. I was really excited. But since the pregnancy wasn’t planned, I told her it was her decision. I would support whatever she wanted to do. And, of course, she wanted to have you. 

The first time I held you was in the hospital the day you were born. A few tears came out of my eyes as I did my best not to faint. I was so happy to be your father. 

I have already received my undergraduate degree in Kinesiology and am pursuing a master’s degree in Sports Management. I want to be a Physical Therapist one day, but first, I want to go to the NFL – just like I always dreamed I would when I was a little boy playing football.

While I worked a construction job over the summer before school to help our family financially, right now, the toughest part about being a dad and pursuing my goals is that you live with your mom’s parents. I don’t want to miss the first time you crawl or your first steps. But I also want to take care of business to give you the life you deserve. 

This year I want to leave it all out on the field. I want to be one of the best linebackers to ever come through Grambling. I want to be an All-American, and someday I want my name to be in a museum or on walls. I want everybody to remember Lewis Matthews, linebacker number 57. 

After college, I don’t care if I get drafted. I just want an opportunity with an NFL team. If I get that chance, I will make the most of it – just like I have at Grambling. And I will always stay humble no matter what I achieve or how well I play. Staying humble keeps me hungry. It keeps me pushing. 

I am excited to have you, a beautiful little girl, in my life. Soriah, I want you always to remember to keep God first. Have a vision of what you want to do or who you want to be, prepare for that vision, and execute it. I truly hope my story teaches you how to fight for what you want and never give up. Because as I continue chasing my dreams, I am more motivated than ever to make my journey a roadmap for you to go after yours. 

Your Dad, 

Lewis Matthews #57
Lewis Matthews #57
Share this letter

2 thoughts on “Baby Girl, This Is What I Want You to Know About My Journey and My Dreams

  1. Lewis this was an amazing story thanks for sharing. I will be showing this to my kiddo. They will be very inspired. Sports are their jam! I loved how you were practical, logical and determined about your journey. I feel very strongly that you have a craft. I mean a true God given craft you will excel in it one way or another. That craft will be there for the best of days and the worst of them too. It will help mold the future. Great story again and please keep soaring.

Leave a Reply

Tell us your story

Write a letter of your own and respond to letters from the Unsealed community.

Write A Letter Now

Find A Pen Pal