Forums  /  Talk  /  Your first time...
  chryoyo

Oh boy, who knows what's gonna be in this thread. Talk about your first experience doing something. Your first proposal, date, riding a bike, writing a letter, the first interview, and if you so care to give out personal information for a joke, your first period. A serious or funny story will do. Have a go at it!

MY STORY WAS DELETED BECAUSE NO ONE UNDERSTOOD IT 😛

DracaarysTrophy, Quivico and 3 others like this. 
  chryoyo

Is the concept not clear? XD Why is it this one isn't getting noticed
you just tell the story of the first time you did something
chry its more likely youve made people uncomfortable with your story
probably. if thats the case admins will just take this down so whateves

 
  oddtom

Hey, this whole "school" thing seems to be something we all have in common, but somehow so completely different. When I was in middle school, we all looked forward to the rolly cart with a TV, and when I went back as a teacher, everyone looked forward to the rolly cart full of ipads. Super weird how the same experience can be so different. For some perspective, I just turned 30, but I'll give you a glimpse of my first year of high school way back in the 2000s:

In addition to the core academic curriculum, my high school also required every student to sign up for some kind of "afternoon activity". No exceptions. They made it abundantly clear during freshman orientation that if we didn't choose an afternoon activity, an afternoon activity would be assigned to us, and it would not be something that we enjoyed. There was a collective groan from the entire freshman body. It was kind of annoying, but at least they were allowing us to choose our form of punishment.

My immediate choice was soccer, the the fall sport I played every year in middle school. It was what I was most familiar and comfortable with, but I didn't see it in any of the columns. The list of sports was alphabetical, so I couldn't even claim to have missed it. I knew where it should be, but it wasn't there. With my one hope shot down, I sat down with a pen and read through the rest of my choices.

I struck down many of them immediately. I'd rather be on toiled scrubbing duty every day than do something like wrestling or cheerleading oh God please no. I crossed out anything that required public speaking and anything that seemed like a trap for luring in unsuspecting freshmen, including the suspiciously vague "Service".

When my pen stopped marking things out, most of the ones remaining were sports of some kind, some of which I'd never even heard of before. What in the world is "lacrosse"? Is that French for something? And "fencing"? Do you mean the white picket ones or are we talking chain link here?

I felt very much like Harry Potter conferring with the sorting hat. This was the beginning of my high school career; I could take my life in any direction, but like most people at fifteen years old, I had no idea what my passions were. I had no idea if I would like writing or drawing or acting because I'd never tried any of those things. I marked out the things I didn't know, eliminating all but three options. The choices left were joining the staff of the school's newspaper, the recycling program, or the swimming program- the only autumn sport that I had any sort of competence in.

After a moment to think about it, I went with swimming because I was the most familiar with it. I knew how to swim and even competed in the recreational league a little bit. I reasoned that I wouldn't necessarily stand out, and I had no interest in standing out in any way.

I was among twelve scrawny freshman that signed up for swimming as the required afternoon activity. On the first day, it was readily obvious who was new and who wasn't, and we stood segregated from the more senior swimmers.

Before we even entered the pool area, the swimming coach informed us that this was not swimming lessons, and that anyone who did not know how to swim would have to sign up for a different afternoon activity. Three people sauntered away, and the rest of us glanced around at the others nervously. I had no idea that anyone took swimming this seriously, and it seemed that I wasn't the only one.

As we entered the pool area, we learned very quickly that there was a pecking order. The highest numbered lanes were for the serious swimmers, usually the upperclassmen who were among the best in the state. The middle lanes were for the up and coming swimmers, but most of these guys had been swimming in the private leagues since they were old enough to get into a pool. The lowest two lanes, including one lopsided, slightly larger one designated "lane zero" belonged to the new kids.

We all shed our t-shirts and awkwardly stood at the edge of our designated lane waiting for instructions as the other swimmers headed off to the locker room. After about fifteen minutes, the regulars began emerging, decked in the latest swim gear. Their sleek suits and mirrored goggles were almost as intimidating as their effortless displays of six-pack abs and rippling muscle. They each silently shook their heads as they strutted past our huddled mass of overweight freshmen in baggy gym shorts.

We stood at the water's edge in a confused mass as the coach drew out some kind of mathematical code on a marker board for the other, more experienced swimmers. The swimmers nodded, snapped on their goggles, and set off in synchronized groups. When they were all off and taken care of, the coach came over to deal with us. He didn't say anything, but I could feel the dismay in his eyes as he examined our unpolished group and I felt a bit of self-awareness of my own scrawny, slightly overweight self.

Instead of the complex marker board equation, he gave us a rather basic set to gauge our abilities. There was no time limit; we were simply to take fifteen seconds break between each set. It sounded simple enough in theory, but I'd never swum so far in my entire life. After about four laps, the fatigue started to set in and it didn't let up. I've felt the burn before, but the limited accessibility of air was far worse than anything else. I did backstroke any chance I got, gasping for air the entire length of the pool.

My muscles began disobeying orders as my hands slapped the water and my body sagged, making it even harder to pull myself forward. When I looked up after reaching each wall, the swim coach's expectant eyes were always on me, so I kept pushing myself to go one more lap. By the end of practice, I could barely pull myself out of the water, and I wasn't the only one. There were some who didn't even make it through the entire set, and even fewer who showed up the next day. By the end of the week, our group of twelve dropped to four.

Of the three that remained, all of them were Asian. They were constantly babbling to each other in some foreign language, which was fine with me. They generally left me alone, and I liked it that way. Though we never talked, we formed some habitual, unspoken rules. They always allowed me to go first, not because I was necessarily the fastest, but because I was the most steady. I kept a constant pace and could always push myself to do one more, and I think that kept them going as well.

Though I learned to hate my swimming coach because of the rigorous practices he represented, there are plenty of things that I give him a lot of credit for. One of these is that as long as a person was trying, he gave that person as much respect as he did to even the most experienced swimmers. If someone took ten minutes to finish a lap, my coach would challenge him to do it in nine minutes and forty-five seconds this time. He always gave us just enough to push us, and our constant effort earned his respect. We weren't the superstars flying by us just a few lanes over, but after only a few months, we were noticeably better.

In time, we also began to learn the practice patterns. Thursdays were known as "stroke day" because it was the day of the week that practices usually revolved around a certain stroke. My coach must have been in a good mood this particular Thursday, because he ordered us to warm up with a 500 butterfly before briefly stepping into his office. It was a joke, of course, but my coach had a way of being sarcastic without changing his demeanor.

"Was he being serious?"

I looked around, trying to figure out where the voice came from. The Asian who usually went behind me asked again, and it startled me. I'd never heard him speak English before, and it felt almost as if one day, the family dog looked up from his bowl and suddenly asked which brand of dog food you happened to be buying. It threw me off, because not only was it perfect English, but it was a completely normal dialect. I'd never heard any of them speak a single word of English, and I felt a little bad for probably being racist. I assured him that it was probably a joke, and that was the first time that I spoke with Min Soo Kim.

After the initial breaking of silence, we spoke more often. I was still usually quiet, but I would respond if he talked to me and would sometimes comment to him about how daunting a particular set looked or how awesome it was to have it all behind us. I learned that their babbling was Korean, and that there was, in fact, two very distinctly different "Korea"s. The four of us were never at a level where we could compete with the upperclassmen, but we eventually got comfortable enough in the water that we could at least compete with each other.

In meets, we weren't the best on the team, but we had our place. We weren't fast enough to earn the top spots, but that wasn't our fight.

Every team seemed to have stragglers like us, and this was our battle. While our teammates fought for first and second, we fought for fifth and sixth. Though we didn't earn as many points, the differential is comparable. Second place and fifth place is more points than first place alone, and the upperclassmen knew it. Despite their hazing rituals and superior attitudes, they eventually came to somewhat respect our continued efforts.

Soon, winter break was upon us, which meant the school would be closing. The dorms were also closing, so Min Soo Kim would have to go back home overseas after exams. However, our biggest meet was in February, which made December and January a crucial season for training. Several weeks out of the water meant months of physical backsliding, and it wouldn't be very much fun for me either if my number one competitor and motivation suddenly lost all his conditioning. I mentioned this to my mother after she picked me up one day. In response, she asked why he couldn't just take the unused bed in my room, and that's how Min Soo Kim ended up staying at my house over the winter break.

I learned a lot about North Korea and South Korea that winter, but I also learned just as much about how underage Asians can get into "R" rated movies. Approaching the kiosk, he pointed to a "Gangs of New York" poster, and, with a hilariously racist Asian accent, said "two ticket, please". Predictably, the lady in the booth asked him to show his ID. He gave her a blank stare for a moment, then leaned up the speaker and held up two fingers, repeating, "two ticket, please". The lady asked for ID again, and he shook his head, repeating the request again. This charade continued for a few more rounds before the ticket lady finally gave in and just gave him the tickets.

It was awesome.

Finding the motivation to go to practice was hard enough after a full day of classes, but it was even harder when you were sitting in your comfy chair at home in the middle of a marathon of your favorite television show. Alone, it might have been a different story, but we pushed each other to do better at practice, and we pushed each other to do better outside of practice. I don't think we missed a single practice that break.

Neither of us got even close to scoring any points at the state meet, but we had our own goals. Simply qualifying to take part in a meet held by the second fastest swimming state in the country is no small feat, but we both managed to do it by the deadline in our respective strokes, a thing we likely would not have done if we hadn't motivated each other all winter.

Min Soo Kim was a senior and graduated that spring. He went off to Carnegie Mellon, and I haven't heard from him since. As much as I would like to find him again, there are a million "Min Soo Kim"s out there, and I wouldn't even know where to start.

MelonSlice, TweniThree and Quivico like this. 
  Novaeu

I saw a wall of text one day

Cuttyflame, tollcross and 2 others like this. 
  oddtom

I'm genuinely curious about how much text we can enter before it cuts it off, or if there's a limit at all..

 
  MelonSlice

That was so interesting I enjoyed reading that @oddtom 🙂