Slaying the size-demons

Fellow+junior+Trevor+Holleman+and+I+playing+against+rival+Spring+Lake+freshman+year.+That+was+my+last+season+of+basketball.+Due+to+my+size%2C+I+saw+limited+playing+time%2C+but+I+made+sure+to+always+have+a+positive+impact+in+every+opportunity+I+got.
Fellow junior Trevor Holleman and I playing against rival Spring Lake freshman year. That was my last season of basketball. Due to my size, I saw limited playing time, but I made sure to always have a positive impact in every opportunity I got.

Fellow junior Trevor Holleman and I playing against rival Spring Lake freshman year. That was my last season of basketball. Due to my size, I saw limited playing time, but I made sure to always have a positive impact in every opportunity I got.

Courtesy Photo/Randy Holleman

Courtesy Photo/Randy Holleman

Fellow junior Trevor Holleman and I playing against rival Spring Lake freshman year. That was my last season of basketball. Due to my size, I saw limited playing time, but I made sure to always have a positive impact in every opportunity I got.

Chris Hudson, Sports Editor

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Let’s take it back in time.

Friday, Nov. 7, 2014.

I was in the eighth grade at Lakeshore Middle School and there was only one thing I could think about during that fall day: did I make the A or B basketball team?

Before that day, I had spent the past 11 months, since the minute the last school basketball season ended, working and developing my skills on a local travel team. In the extra time I had, I went to the Y, throwing up hundreds of shots and playing round upon round of scrimmages.

I was determined to meet that one goal: make the A team, not the B. I did whatever it took and then some to get that promotion to the team every little middle school boy drooled over. The team that made you cool back then if you got a spot. The team that got to play at Lakeshore, not White Pines. The team that actually mattered.

Flash forward to that final day of tryouts, the moment I had been waiting for. As I slowly left the gymnasium, holding that envelope in my hand which would make or break my dreams, my heart thundered in my chest. I knew I deserved that position on the A team; I made sure I beat-out the people I needed to in order to receive that holy grail of middle school athletics.

After tossing the idea through my mind for a few minutes about when I should tear open the letter, I finally slid my finger through the crease and lifted the blue piece of paper.

I unfolded it. My stomach dropped. The waterworks soon flowed out.

For yet another season, I was shunned to the Lakeshore Middle school B team.

First came shock, then sadness, which was followed by extreme anger. I bawled my eyes out as I slumped home. I ignored my best friend who just made one of the A team’s and who asked me if I simply wanted a ride. I was distraught. I couldn’t understand why I got snubbed.

Over that weekend, I hid within the walls of my house. I pouted. I truly thought I could never get over it. I needed an explanation. I demanded my mom to email Mr. Fickes, the coach who conducted the tryout and the man who was behind the decision to kill a young boy’s dreams.

A few days later, my mom came home from work with his answer printed out and highlighted for me to see. My eyes quickly fell to four bold words – “It’s just his size.”

This was the first time I felt the effects of not having the size nor strength in the world of sports. Prior to that, I was just another basketball player. Once that letter registered in my brain, I was now portrayed as a scrawny, shrimpy kid who wasn’t the body type Fickes and Co. were looking for. They completely bypassed my passion, smarts, skill, character, all of the unique intangibles I obtained, just to get another big boneheaded chump to occasionally snag rebounds.

As much as I love sports, they have played a massive role in the false belief that the bigger the player, the better he or she is. Those who have the size will supposedly take-down and over-power their smaller counterparts. To be frank, that’s not entirely true.

Over the decades, athletes who have been given the famed “curse” of being small have used their abilities to own the game they play. From Spud Webb in the NBA with untamed quickness to Drew Brees in the NFL having laser vision and even José Altuve, one of the current kings of the MLB, having potent power unlike no other; these people have utilized their lower center of gravity to take down the cumbersome giants and slay the beasts upon their five-foot frame. Having passion, intelligence and determination, those three and others are regarded as some of the greats all time and are the ones who have defied the stereotype.

And years ago, I should’ve fought on in basketball with the same integrity they did. I was caught up by the decision the coaches made, not using that to its full potential to fuel my fire that season.

For those out there reading this, especially to the ones lacking in height, don’t be dragged down by your smaller stature.

Rather, use it as a way to prove a point and motivate each and every time you take the court – size does not and should not matter; the ball never lies.

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