The ninth graders tried out for the freshman team, then the Varsity tryouts were afterwards. For a lot of players, this is when they quit for good. When growing up sports is a fun thing to do with friends, but freshman year of high school is when it gets serious. You either are dedicated or not. You’re either talented and have potential or you don’t. There’s no grey area here. You can tell a person’s dedication just by the way they run down the court.
Dave and Ken were two guys in my grade. I played basketball with them during the summers and we all took it seriously. They also attended Medford Middle School and played football, so the older players knew of them and they were pretty popular. From an outside perspective, they were slated to be the next faces of the program in the coming years.
On the first day of tryouts, Ken, Dave, and I all tried out for the freshman team together. We were the best players on the freshman team by far, but we already knew that. Once freshman tryouts finished, we had the option to try out for the Varsity team.
Since the only reason I was at Shawnee was to play on the Varsity team, after freshman tryouts I followed Ken and Dave to the larger gym to try out for Varsity. When we walked in, I was star-struck. Along the bleachers warming up were Jason Davis, Wally Brown, Eric Miller, and all the starters on the team. I idolized these guys and got excited that I’d finally be getting my chance to play with them.
We all warmed up until Coach Adams told everybody to begin the team warmup. Following Ken and Dave, we started at the corner of the baseline, doing high-knees to the other end of the court. Since I was an unknown, I was the final one in line.
I started doing a few high-knees, extremely excited to be trying out for Varsity. Suddenly, I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned my head and saw Coach Adams. He motioned for me to stop.
“Hey Tyson, what are you doing?”
Excited that he knew my name, I said, “I’m trying out for Varsity, Coach.”
He replied, “Oh no, we only let the older guys do that.”
Puzzled, I stared at him and said, “But Ken and Dave are trying out.”
“Tyson, you’re only on the freshman team now so you can’t try out. Plus, there will be too many players for practice.”
I just stared at him, unable to say anything.
He said, “You have to go now.”
Not wanting to upset this legendary coach, especially on my first day of practice, there was only one thing I could say, “Okay.”
The Varsity team watched me walk back to the locker room with my head down while Ken and Dave continued to try out with the team.
This was A Harsh Reality About High School Politics In Athletics.