When school started though, it was nothing like what I’d thought. The worst part of the day was lunch time. The rest of the day was easy since I had structure. However, when lunch came, I had nobody to sit with.
I knew one kid I played basketball with during the summer but he had his group of friends and the table was always full. Sometimes I had to kneel down on the hard tiles next to the table and eat my lunch. Also, because I was the new kid, other kids tried to pick on me. I’d just sit there though, trying to act like I couldn’t hear them. At one point one of the guys I was sitting with said, “Tyson, just stand up. Once they see you’re 6’3” they’ll stop picking on you.”
Since I was shy and didn’t want a problem, I just replied, “No, it’s okay.”
In those first few months, I rarely said anything to anybody since I didn’t want to be seen as uncool. It was hard enough making friends and I didn’t want to say or do anything that would give me a bad reputation. I went to school, did my work, and went home.
As the school year progressed I was really excited for practices to start. Here I was at the legendary Shawnee High School with a chance to play on the team. The Shawnee basketball team had a history that went back decades. Dale Adams started coaching at Shawnee in the 80’s when they weren’t that good. However, over time, he transformed it into a great program, at one point being the best team in the country.
When Kevin and I went to the games growing up, we idolized guys like Brian Earl, Danny Earl, and Malik Allen, who all eventually played professionally. At the end of the games, a few hundred students chanted “WARM UP THE BUSSES!” We imagined how amazing it would be to be on a team like that. After all my imagining, here I was, a freshman at Shawnee, finally getting a chance to try out for the team.
This was getting bullied during high school and how I dealt with it.