A story of what really goes on behind the mask of a teenager.
I am not famous, I have not won a Noble Peace Prize, and I am certainly not a hero. I am not even out of college. The story that follows is one about a simple teenager’s life. One filled with success and triumph followed by heartbreak and sadness. They say writing heals the soul and I was desperate enough to find out. What follows is a story about how everything can change in the blink of an eye. As cliché as that is it is a story that I feel everyone runs into in their own way at some time in their lives. The story of how everything changes and you become a completely different person. A person that people may refuse to see but you have come to understand. A story that many people have but one that never gets told, the story of what goes on under the surface of a teenager.
Hi my name is Catherine or Cat for short and a typical teenage girl I am not. I have always been what people call a “tomboy”. I fell into that box as a young kid and never seemed to be able to climb out. I grew up playing with my older brother Mike and I learned fast that to play I had to be tough. That is where is all started but I think every little girl goes through a tomboy stage at some point in their lives. For me however I soon found the game of basketball and while I am no Micheal Jordan God blessed me with enough talent to play. Being a girly girl after that didn’t seem like an option. Some days I wish I could be, when I see my friends with their boyfriends so happy and free. I can see it in my parents eyes as well, they want that all American girl as their daughter. I am close I have the grades, I do not drink or do drugs, I guess I am alright at Basketball, but there is still one thing missing. I can not help but see the disappointment in their eyes every time I say no to a dress or on the opposite end the pride my Dad looked at me with when I dressed for the prom. They would never say it because I know they love me the way I am but I also feel they would love to have their Cinderella. If I had the courage I probably would but change is scary and I tend to stay away from putting myself out there. Even though things are not perfect the way they are stepping out there and deciding to change could bring on so much more. While It may not be perfect now at least it is familiar, changing would just bring on a whole new slew of problems. So I choose to stay the same because my life really is not bad at all the way it is. I have friends, my family, and the one thing I am really good at in Basketball.
The feel of sweat rolling of my skin, the smell of leather and hard wood floors, the sound of the ball going through the net, all of that is what I live for. There is no greater feeling in the world than celebrating with your team mates, your family. That is what I have become known for in this town and I have one more year to live it. The town of Chippewa is small, only 4000 people, and having my mom as Doctor and my Dad a teacher means people will know who you are. It gives you that much more incentive to make a name for yourself and that is what I did. I am known for being great at basketball; of course great in their eyes meant little to me. Sure I appreciate it don’t get me wrong but I am not sure I am as amazing as everyone sees me to be. Many times I just wish I could be a girl and leave all the expectations behind. I know I should be more grateful but the thing everyone thinks is going to get my so far in life is really what is holding me back. I am known for basketball and that is what I do. I love it I really do, not even the pressure can take that away but I miss out on so much. It all begins my senior year.
First day of our senior year! I still do not have a car so I pull up with my Dad who is teaching 11th grade history, it is not all that bad having my Dad around all day it could be worse I guess. I am wearing my favorite outfit from the school shopping trip we took, a purple fitted shirt, a pair of blue jeans, and of course my signature pony tail. I can not wait to see my friends again, summer can seem so long with out them!
I walk in the door and get swarmed by the fish. I guess it is kind of embarrassing to have all these freshman running to you but I remember being there only four years ago so I gladly make friends.
“Hey girls good to be in high school?” I say casually
“OMG OMG Cat we are here!” they all squawked
“Yes you are! Try and Have a good day I am going to find my friends” I am attempting to be as nice as possibly because as I said before I was there once too.
“Catherine!!” My friend Carey yells out
Yes finally Senior year begins!
“Can you believe it we are Seniors!” I answer back
“I know it is crazy, in a year I will be at Tech and you will be playing ball somewhere!”
Ahhh there it is, they do not say it to be mean it is just what is expected, I will make it to college and play basketball somewhere. I want it too , I think anyway, I just do not see it happening. So I answer back hiding everything I was thinking as always.
“Ha yeah I guess we will see”
“O Cat you know you will” Says Erin one of my other friends. He is actually the star football player and will probably go to college as well to play. I wonder if he feels like I do about the whole thing. I will never know though because I would never actually voice my fears out loud.
We all went off to our classes and had a great first day as seniors. Everyone says we are meeting at Sonic for drinks after school and as bad as I want to I can not. I need to stay and shoot baskets, so there it was the first official senior fun I missed for basketball. I feel no regret though because I truly do love basketball and we are going to have a very young team this year. I am the only senior and if we have any shot I will need to be every bit as good as people seem to think I am. We have a new coach this year as well, three years I spent learning everything there was about a system and then he leaves and I am left with a new coach for my senior season. It all does not seem fair but I know I will have to suck it up and make the best of it so that is the plan. The weird thing about this new coach is she is my friend Dee’s aunt. Even though Dee lives in another town I still consider her a good friend. I wish we could be closer but I don’t allow anyone to see how I really feel. My coaches always love my stoic personality because you never want your leader to show emotion on the court but outside of basketball I have a hard time showing them too. Just another way Basketball is a blessing yet a burden as well. I have yet to meet this new coach but I hope to soon, in the mean time I will make sure I am as prepared as possible.
“Hey keep your elbow in” That is the first words I hear from my new coach. It was not hi or nice to meet you but instead it was instruction of my shooting form. To many people that might have been offensive but not to me. I knew right then and there we would get along.
“Yes mam” I answered unsure of what else to say
“Are you a shooting guard” she asks
“No mam I have played point in past” I answered back.
“Alright well keep that elbow in and I will see you tomorrow in class” She says before walking off. That was our first meeting and I couldn’t wait to get our season going.
Our team consisted of 4 freshman 3 sophomores 2 juniors and one senior, me. We were young, I had been blessed the past few years to have successful seasons and Comanche was currently on a 5 year run of making the playoffs. Every one I passed in the store or around town would ask “Can you take them Catherine”, no pressure eh? We were picked dead last in our district and no one see’s us going anywhere. Insulting was the first thought but they did not know our team. We started out 0 and 7 and we heard about it. “They are just to young”, “This coach has no clue”, or “Cat needs to step it up”, everything that could be said was said. We could not take it personally, anyone who was from Comanche understood that girls basketball was suppose to win and we knew we were not performing the way we could. So we worked hard and despite our age we started winning and we did make the playoffs. The whole town was back behind us and I seemed to be fulfilling expectations. It was not an easy season by any means hardest of any of the years I played in high school but that just made it even sweeter. I do not think I told them enough how proud I was of them, the girls on our team that year are proof that hard work and heart do win sometimes.
However are playoff opponent was top 10 in the state and had recently broken national records in three point shooting. We heard the doubters and we knew it would be a tough game but we still went in thinking we had a chance. I refuse to go into anything in life thinking I will fail. I figure life is hard enough as it is without making you own obstacles. We hung with the in the first half only down by 8 at the half. Unfortunately our youth caught up with us and we just didn’t have the fire power or defense to keep up with them. I remember looking into the stands while someone was shooting free throws and seeing my family all yelling for me. There they were my mom, brother, dad, cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents, everyone was there and this was the final 8 minutes of my Comanche Maiden career. To anyone who did not play sports that may sound over dramatic to you but to me it all came at once. I am not a crier but it took everything I had to pull it together and hold it in those last few minutes. After the game I was asked to say something but what do you say to your team mates who all year fought their hearts out even when they were told they had nothing. I loved those girls and I will never forget them.
After the seasons I had decisions to make it was time to pick where I would go to college. I had been accepted to many places Texas A&M University , my parents alma mater and the place I grew up to love, and Henrietta University, one of the places I could go to play basketball. Here I am stuck in the middle do I go to Texas A&M and be a normal college student or do I follow what has ultimately been expected of me forever, basketball. I would never fully voice my fears but I would attempt to in passing. Once people found out I might be going to play at Henrietta there was no stopping them.
“Congrats Catherin! Can not wait to watch you!”
“Woooo You’re my hero Cat!”
Things like this were said to me all the time. I would try to explain to them I was not even on the team yet it was just an opportunity but they just knew I would be playing. It was April now and I needed to make a decision soon. I just wish I had one person I could talk too about it. My mom wanted it bad I could tell and my Dad was always so proud when he watched me play. It is not like I am bitter towards basketball at all I know it has made me the person I am today and I know that I am a better person because of it. I also know I missed out on a lot because of it and I am afraid I will in college too. Basketball has been good to me but is it time to find myself outside of it? I am set to graduate in the top five of my class, I have a ton of friends, and I have choices on where to go to college. I really can not complain and so I am not going to anymore. I will take my visits and see which place I fall in love with.
More to come if you want....