I am finally ready to write about it. It took some time and perspective, but here goes.
Moving is hard. Moving changes everything. Moving makes finding your way and where you fit in a challenge.
T.Puzzle hit the ground running. He breezed into classes and cliques relatively unscathed.
Full Speed had a much different experience.
I never changed schools growing up so I am not sure what is typical of joining a school in your eighth grade year. It seems that where we moved is well-established. Most kids have grown up here and they stick together. There are good kids to be found, but at the beginning of the year, Full Speed had a hard time connecting with them.
He ate lunch alone for over two months.
As fate would have it in the midst of his lone lunching, he tried out for basketball. Tryouts ended in disaster as he suffered a mild (though frightening) concussion on the very first day. Apparently two basketball passes to the head will do that to you.
We had some pretty dark days post-concussion.
Thankfully, we had access to excellent follow-up care. Over the course of three months Full Speed successfully completed all physical therapy and passed all cognitive testing.
In the interim, he was offered the chance to be the basketball team manager.
This changed everything.
He quickly became the heart and soul of the team. He started to get recognized at school.
He finally had friends to sit with at lunch.
This all culminated in him getting to suit up and participate in the final home game of the season.
He played a few minutes here and there. He showed some fire on defense and fed his teammates some passes.
As the clocked ticked down its final minute, he was subbed in. The goal of the team was to feed him a shot. Everyone was invested as they all cheered him on.
He never did make the shot, but he didn’t need to.
The winning happened the minute he stepped on the court.