Paris: C'est La Vie, Part 2: The Phoenix of Paris
PARIS, MO -- "I don't regret anything that I've done, or anything that has happened to me," said Justin Wolfe.
Justin Wolfe has no regrets about the tough first 18 years of his life, but he knows tough better than anyone. He understands that life has a way of knocking you down.
"Before each play I think about all that's happened to me in my life," Wolfe said. "It's just like something I can, something I can escape everything from."
Wolfe suffered many painful years before football become a part of his life. "I was like 8 years old," Wolfe said. "One weekend my Mom was like, I really love you guys and she abducted us, we was on the run for like 2 years."
Justin's aunt and uncle saved him and his little brother, but not before his mom went back to prison, again.
"My mom and dad were both out of prison four times, and my dad's back in," Wolfe said. "It's his 5th time."
"The worst moment was when me and my dad and my little brother and my stepmom was setting on the couch watching a movie and the cops busted the door down and, and pointed this four foot gun at my little brother and was screaming at him telling him to get on the floor," Wolfe said. "It hurt because I hated my little brother going through that."
When Wolfe was 16 when his mom got out of prison and came back into his life in the worst way imaginable.
"I would sneak out of my grandma and grandpa's and hang out with her and then she started getting me into drugs, and the first time I took any, or did any illegal substances was when my mom told me I wouldn't let you do this, like, if I knew it would hurt you," Wolfe said. "And that's the first time I did meth, and I just went downhill from there, it took control of me, I just didn't care."
After eight trips to different juvenile detention centers, a phone call from his incarcerated father changed his life.
"He was calling me from prison and everybody else's parents was calling them from home and stuff and, it just hit me, I just lost it," Wolfe said. "I got off the phone, started crying, and it just made me wanna change my ways."
Since then, Wolfe has not been involved with any drugs. He is in a stable living situation with a family friend, and most importantly for Wolfe, he has football.
Wolfe is the running back, the linebacker, the punter, and the returner, and he earned every bit of it.
"He wants to earn your respect, he wants to earn things, he don't wanna be given things, and I admire him for that" said Gary Crusha, the Paris football coach.
"I've been there, and I'm back now," Wolfe said.
For Wolfe, the bad part is over. Wolfe was even named to the homecoming court. His last football season is done, except for what remains on the game tapes he plans to send to his father.
"He asked me, since he can't be here, if I would get the films for him and when he gets out he can watch 'em," Wolfe said.
Wolfe has no doubts on what he has to do from here. "I have a lot of making up to people, I have a lot of that to do," Wolfe said.