My First Days in High School as a New Athlete
I knew guys who played basketball for the Shawnee team, but I wasn’t good friends with them. Like the kid from The Sandlot who played with the contraptions in his house all day long, I could play basketball all day without seeing or talking to anyone else. Going into the school year, I thought that wouldn’t matter. I knew I was a great player so I thought my basketball skills would make up for it. I thought, I’m going to come in, be the best player at practice, start Varsity, then become one of the most popular kids at school! Everybody will be surprised and love me because I’m the new kid who is so great at basketball!
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...