'Be Somebody' by Wes Kitts
Below is an excerpt from Wes's website that explains his father's role in his success and the meaning behind their mantra "Be Somebody".
My whole life, my dad was my biggest inspiration. He was with me the very first time I ever picked up a weight. At the time I was just a little kid, motivated by some old pictures of my dad from when he used to live in the gym. Growing up I couldn’t wait until I was old enough to start lifting weights like my dad. I wanted to get bigger, faster, and stronger. He always told me if I train hard, then I would be able to accomplish anything I set my mind to. He encouraged confidence by never letting me doubt my abilities. He could always see more in me than I could in myself and was proud of my every move.
As a kid I played a variety of different sports and my dad loved it. He’d coach me in baseball when I was young and never missed a soccer or football game. Before each one he always had some words of encouragement and he could always motivate me. These words molded the way that I approached competition throughout my life and I still play them back to this day. He was as competitive as anyone I’ve ever known and I easily matched it. We would have foot races, play ping pong and other games around the house, and never did I beat him at anything until I actually COULD beat him. He wouldn’t just relentlessly beat me though. He would teach me along the way. He would try to help me get better. Sometimes I had the patience to actually learn and sometimes I was too wrapped up in losing to listen. Athletics wasn't the only thing he would support and push me in. In school I was a slightly above average student and he was rarely satisfied with my grades, pushing me to score higher. More times than I can count he told me, “I don’t care if you want to play tidily winks, you should try to be the best damn tidily winks player you can be and I’ll help you however I can.” To this day I can’t tell you what tidily winks is or if it’s even spelled right, but the lesson stuck. I know to work hard for the things that I want and I learned that no matter my ambitions, he would be behind me.
As I get older I keep finding more and more of him in myself. My passion, my skills, interests, and even my temper seems to be almost a replica of his. I love this about myself. Even though I can’t really see him, I can see him in my actions. His memory lives on in my every day life, but never do I feel closer to him than when I’m competing. I can almost feel him in the crowd, like he always was my whole life. I can hear his words of encouragement as I am getting my gear on for a competition. If you’ve watched me compete, then you know that I can be emotional on the platform. This is why. I know how much he would love this. I’m sure he never imagined that I would one day represent the U.S.A. in competition. I never did. I never competed in a sport that exists in the Olympics. I stumbled upon this. When I found it, I did what my dad taught me and put every ounce of my energy into honing the skill. I worked hard, made sacrifices, and faced doubt. This is how I find myself here. At the cusp of an Olympic dream living by my father’s mantra. “Be Somebody.”