Two words: Just try. I didn’t want to play football. I was six, the other kids were older, bigger, and I didn’t know them. The alpha was a boy three years older than me known as “Beef”.
One word: Yes. Just a year ago girls were gross, now I found them attractive. I wondered if Laura felt the same about me. I asked her to “go out with me” and she said yes. This, along with my jock credentials validated me as a popular kid. We avoided making eye contact and speaking for two weeks then she broke up with me. I cried and found comfort in a bowl of cocoa pebbles that mom poured me.
One word: Seizure. We were in history class watching a movie. I woke up and I was being taken out on a stretcher and brought to the Hospital. When I was told what happened, I assumed it was no different than having a cold. All I knew was I got to go home while everyone else was stuck in class and they were totally jealous.
One word: Championship. I’ve won them before, but not like this. I got to start on the middle school football team where no dads were coaching and smart people were setting the depth chart. I was only one of three of the kids in my grade that did start because we were younger than everyone! I even had to change positions because I broke my wrist. I knew next year we’ll win again and I’ll be running the show.
Three words: Not this year. Football was done and it was time for my first year of middle school basketball! There were tryouts and we would travel to different schools to play. I always made all stars before and was in the starting 5. I knew I would be again. I explained all of this to my doctor, but that did not stop him from telling the school my blood pressure was too high to play. I knew it would be ok though, the school thinks I need to be homeschooled anyway for a few months because my seizures are getting worse. I will only get tutoring for an hour a day while all of my friends are stuck in class! The team will miss me and I’ll have all day free.
Two words: Doctor’s excuse. School and football season were ready to start up and I was a captain and starting at my two favorite positions. Practice was going great, we had expectations of another championship. I had to go to the neurologist to get a note that it was ok to play, this was new and I didn’t understand but notes were always needed. My mom scheduled the appointment and he said no. I cried. My mom felt horrible. She found two other neurologists to try. They both said no. I was a ball boy. The team won the championship, just like my basketball team the winter before.
One word: Again. No sports for freshman year, they said it wasn’t safe. It was ok though it was only freshman year so I still had time to get recruited for football. I would make that my focus. I didn’t even like basketball anymore anyway. All of my friends were taking AP biology and I had never even heard of that. They said it was for college. I thought that harder classes sounded boring. I got a D in my regular biology and all of my other regular classes. I passed, so whatever.
Two words: Seizure boy. Two of my friends on AIM chat being dicks. Zack was one of my closest friends. I was going to fight him, this was too far. It never happened. It seems like a lot of my friends don’t want to hang out anymore.
Three words: Raleigh, North Carolina. I knew everyone was going to miss me. But, no one said goodbye on the last day of school or even a phone call in the last days. Mom said my cousin was going to have a party, but rain was forecasted. I got some yearbook signatures, but only when I requested. No one asked for mine.
Two words: I quit. Although I started school a month late that year, I could play football again! No doctor note needed. I put on a few pounds since I was homeschooled and had played no sports. I hadn’t gotten any taller either. Since I weighed about 250 pounds they put me on the offensive line. I hate the o-line. I had to put my pads in my pants and forgot how to do it and my belt didn’t seem to go through the waist, it was different than my old pants. Since I didn’t have enough practices in to play in a game I couldn’t go to any with the team. I had no friends on the team. This wasn’t fun.
Three words: I don’t care. My dad did not like to have tv time interrupted. He would stop conversations when the commercials weren’t on. It made it weird to tell him about when mom was acting weird so I just didn’t. I would talk to my mom. She didn’t watch tv, she laid in bed all day and would listen.
Two words: Chunky Titties. The school had a new club lacrosse team that everyone made for lack of participation. My friend John was joining so I did too, I always wanted to play. I weighed about 300 pounds so I did not move as fast as the rest of the team, but I knew I could learn. Everyone got nicknames. John’s was BP for big penis, another boy’s was Tree, John gave me my nickname, CT. I embraced it and made a jersey undershirt for games with Chunky Titties and my jersey number written across the back. It was fun, we were laughing together. I still wouldn’t tell any adults just in case.
Four words: You’re a great guy. I made a friend, it became a crush I pursued. This became a trend. I was sure of one thing, I was a great guy but not very attractive. John had no problems and he was definitely not a great guy. He showed me pictures he had and told me stories of multiple girls at once. I would be his and others ride when they needed to go to a party, well some parties.
Two words: Community College. I wanted to go to Penn State. My guidance counsler told me I was in the bottom 10% of my graduating class and I did not have the credentials to go to any University in America — I needed to get a two year degree first. All of the cool kids were going to Universities, but at least John was going to be at school with me.
One word: No. After finally being able to drive two years after everyone else I no longer could. The doctor said I was having some increased seizures, I didn’t like the feeling I got after he answered if I could drive. I had two years of freedom and it was taken away. I needed rides from mom and friends, usually mom.
Three words: High blood pressure. Not my first time, but this time it was different. I had to come off of the medicine that was keeping me safe and I had been on for years. I weighed 320 pounds. The seizure prevention was no longer worth the cardiac risk. I was only 20, I thought this was an old person problem.
One word: Happy. Walking through the parking lot at work, collecting carts, I felt happy. I didn’t know why. Being old enough to drink was fun, but that wasn’t it — I rarely saw my friends. I had slimmed down a few pounds. I learned what calories are in biology and it all made sense. I even got a B that semester. Actually, a lot of my classes were going well. I would learn later weight gain was one side effect along with depression and cognitive impairment.