One Letter Away


As a high school student, there are many things one can accomplish throughout four years.

A typical athlete in high school has their mind set on playing a varsity sport during at least one of the four years of high school.

But what if that does not happen?

With the thought of playing varsity lingering in one’s mind, what reaction should you expect when the news is broken to you and that dream is crushed in an instant?

After playing a sport for most of your life, it comes as a sudden reality check to not hear your name on the list of players who made the cut. You may even be questioning if they missed your name.

Sitting there holding back tears as you realize you heard correctly. You failed to make the team.

What can one do at that moment if this is not your secondary sport? Instead, it is the only sport you have a passion for. You took it so seriously and tried so hard to be good enough. Even with all the hard work, you fall short.

There’s always a spring sport that was my backup anyway, but do I really want to play sports anymore?

The feeling of defeat and dread was killing me, my eyes watered as I questioned what you could have done better.

You decide you cannot leave the sport you made a part of you, along with the bonds you made. 

My friends wanted me there as badly as I wanted to be there.

All I could do for my last year was ask if Coach would let me manage, I just wanted to be there.

I needed to experience my last year as if I was a player, along for the ride with my friends and at every game I could make. 

I gained responsibility and respect. I was the one giving the water to my fellow teammates and they were always thankful.

The season was rough from the sidelines but as it went on, I learned managing was the best decision I could have made. 

The coach and the players made me feel wanted and included, I felt like I was wanted there.

I stuck with them through the rough games, the good games, the buzzer-beaters, and the edge-of-my-seat games.

Experiencing the atmosphere of Battle for the Paddle from the bench is one of the most memorable experiences of high school.

When the rough season was coming to an end and it was time for districts, no one believed we could do it. 

The first game of districts versus Sandpoint was so close and I was on the edge of my seat the entire game, as we secured the win.

The tension was in the air for the second game. Based on the first game we could tell it was not going to be easy. This time there was the pressure of being on our home court with so many friends and family members watching. 

The team had not won a home game the whole season, but we were not planning on going back to Sandpoint. 

We could not lose.

The second half of the game was the team everyone wanted to see, we took a huge lead and ended up beating Sandpoint by 30 points. 

Even with a season that rough, we were off to state. The state experience is so fun and unique it is hard to put into words. 

The experience was so amazing and I am so glad I got to end my high school experience with that opportunity.

Next up was tennis, something fun and enjoyable, I had no plans to play varsity, I wanted to pay JV for fun. 

After a fun season of doubles, I enjoyed every second but I have come to realize that there is no letter involved.

I will not be able to put an L or a pin on a letterman jacket because I never made it to a varsity sport.

It is something to think about yes, but I believe the experience I made with basketball tops a letter any day and I am so glad it happened.

The biggest thing I have learned is to make sure you do not give up on what you love.

There was no plan to go to state, but it created the best experience for me because of my loyalty and love for basketball. 

Do not give up if you do not make it, and find an alternative especially if it is something you love.

Look at what you can make from it.