This past week, the seniors have felt a mix of sadness, nervousness, and most definitely, excitement. This time last year, we were celebrating that we only had to write a 45-minute FRQ for our WHAP exam. This time next year, we will be finishing the first year of our new lives in college. However, this time, I feel like I’m just beginning a new life because FHC is just a checkpoint in my long and difficult journey. When I really look back at it, though, I realize that Ranger Country really did form who I was and who I am going to be for the rest of my life.
Oftentimes I look at freshman year me, just a small 6’5 kid indulging in his first taste of high school. Walking through those halls, I had known a lot of the senior class because my brother had been friends with them, so seeing them hadn’t really frightened me. Thinking about if I were in their shoes right now and about to graduate hadn’t scared me either, as I thought that was years and years away. Now when I look back at it, I should have been frightened. I should have really lived out my high school years to the fullest because these were times I need to cherish. However, when the time actually came, being in their shoes and seeing if my cap and gown fit right, I was thrilled. Thrilled simply because I realized I did live up to those ugly days of high school. I was thrilled because I went to that football game freshman year and had one of the best experiences in my life. I was thrilled because I went on senior spring break with the friends—and at this point, family—that I have grown up with because they have been alongside me, experiencing everything with me. I was thrilled because I made the leap and committed part of my life to basketball, which really shaped a part of me that I can now never get back. I was thrilled because I lived out of high school the best I could and gained countless skills and experiences that will live with me forever.
Sophomore year me was a little bit more confident. I made the varsity basketball team and was ecstatic and yet frightened at the same time to be a part of a new dynasty of Rangerball; this one under former player Kyle Carhart. Coach Carhart was the perfect fit, and he really helped me through the sport of basketball and through my high school career. He created a fun and welcoming program that was by far my favorite part of high school. I will have certain memories that will stick with Rangerball and me for many years to come. Our Traverse City trip was one of those memories. Riding that two-hour and 30-minute bus ride to TCC was an adventure, piggybacked with the reckless escapades of running through Traverse City Resort, finding trouble, and making memories. Another key moment was beating East Kentwood for the first time in 12 years. The feeling of this win was like no other, as we stormed the court and celebrated all the way into the locker room. That 2019-2020 team, as I’m sure most of my teammates can attest, was possibly the most close-knit team I have ever been a part of. The memories made with them are like no other, and I have to thank everyone who was on the team for that. Just being a part of Rangerball has been an experience like no other, and I wouldn’t have wanted it to go any other way.
Now onto the other constant in my high school career: The FHC Sports Report. From the start of my writing career sophomore year to now, I have created some of the best friendships and memories from a class that Mr. George simply requested I take. I cannot thank the people in this class enough, for it was one of the best decisions of my life. Thank you to my fellow seniors this year: Mason, Cam, Sydney, Gwen, Zoe, and Matthew. Mason, you always came into class with some sort of news, whether good or bad, and it was always the best start to the class. Cam, you were always there to simply just chat about anything going on, whether it be Rocket League or even something as simple as the fight the night before. Sydney, thank you for always livening up the class whenever it seemed dull, and I can’t wait to see how you do at Wisconsin. Gwen, thank you for being one of my closest friends throughout all of high school and in this class. You have always been there for me throughout it all, and I really do appreciate our friendship. Zoe, thank you for just being you. You always seem to bring joy to the class, and I couldn’t find someone better to have in my three years as a sports writer. And lastly, Matthew. You have been like a brother to me these last few years, and a lot of that stems from sports report. This class and site grew to what it is today because of you and all the hard work you put into it, so thank you. To all of the underclassmen: keep with it. Sometimes this class can be a drag, but it is completely worth it. Thank you for your constant dedication toward your stories and towards the site. We wouldn’t be where we are today without your hard work. To Mr. George, thank you primarily for introducing me to the class. Thank you for your sarcastic jokes and the constant reminder that you are bald and “in with today’s slang.” To all of sports report, thank you and farewell.
This past year has brought us—for lack of better terms—to hell and back. We started the year out with the worst possible conditions of school. As a class, we spent maybe 30 percent of the year with our whole grade in the building at one time, and yet we made the most of it. We rallied together to do what many people struggle with: enjoying the little things. We enjoyed the football games, no matter the situation of fans. We took advantage and made our own dances and senior-led events. To most of us, we also had our senior spring breaks, for those who were in Marco Island know the adventures we had. To all of you seniors, thank you for being there through everything, and I will never forget you guys. To FHC, thank you for being my home to grow up in and a place I plan to cherish forever. Peace out, Ranger Country.