In eighth grade, I tried out for the basketball team. Being very disappointed that I hadn't made the cheerleading team the previous year, I was REALLY looking forward to this. Three of my good friends were also trying out. We got all our information together, and then we had to wait for practice to start. Soon everyone knew who was trying out for basketball. It was talked about all over the school. Since my school was undefeated, who made the team and who didn't was a really big thing. I practiced a lot by myself and I was ready! There were four practice days scheduled, then a tryout day to find out who was the best. We knew it was going be a lot of work, and finally the day arrived.
The first day everyone was feeling kind of awkward. Since I was considered "popular," I only hung out with my friends. No one else could hang around us. We were in the high achievers program, so we thought we were it! Soon practice started. It was soooo tough. We had to do eight laps around the gym, then a lot more running, and even do suicides (a very tiring exercise). It was a lot of work. A lot of girls quit because of all of the work we had to do. I couldn't blame them. I decided to stick it out until the end. I would go home every day after practice and pass out, only to wake up to a truckload of homework. It was awful. I was thinking that this team better be worth it!
Soon tryout day came. Some girls showed up that hadn't been to practice any day that week. They were "friends" with the teachers, so of course they would make the team. We were watched closely all during the tryouts. Finally they picked the team and told us all to sit down on the bleachers. She called out the names, but mine WASN'T CALLED! I was astonished. All of my friends made the team, so it was humiliating. I didn't know how I was going to face the school on Monday. I dreaded school. I cried so much.
Over the weekend I devised a plan to keep myself from the embarrassment. It was a quick smart plan, and I knew it would work. We had to have a physical exam to join the team. I would just tell everyone the coach wouldn't let me on because I didn't have my physical. They cost twenty bucks and I was sure everyone would agree and say, "Girl, I wouldn't spend a whole twenty dollars on no sheet of paper either!" So I went on and used my plan. It worked. Everyone was still just as cool with me as they were before. No one blamed me. Still, even after everyone told me how funny and "cool" that was, I didn't feel that way. I was just going to let it go until the next week . . .
The next week was cheerleading tryouts. My best friend had made the squad last year when I hadn't. This year she didn't. She was crying and very upset. To make things worse, she was the only cheerleader that tried out for a second time and didn't make it. She had to go to school and face the humiliation herself. I felt awful. So the next day in school I walked in with her, proud, and admitted that I had lied about the physical and that I didn't make the squad because the coach didn't pick me. Everyone was surprised, but no one made a wise crack about my best friend or me. It felt wonderful to get the truth out. Ever since then I've had confidence in what I do and realized that what other people think and say is not what counts, but what you believe in really does.