Four year reflection at Normal West

Ryan Gibson, Staff Reporter

Heartbreak, good times, friendship, and athletics has led me to survive my four years at Normal West.

My first day of high school I walked in as a young, fat boy. I was shy at first, but through cross country I’d meet my friends that I’d carry with me for the rest of my time in high school. Normal West has provided me with a great group of friends.

Friends, they’re the ones who have encouraged me through academics, athletics, and my health. My cross country group is one that will always be close to my heart. For the most part we’ve done cross country since sixth grade, albeit at different junior highs, but the passion of the sport has led us to where we are. Whether it be TP-ing our coaches house or the fun-bus filled with endless laughter, my friends were such a great part of cross country.

Taking apart in athletics has made my time at West fly by. I participated in cross country, swim, and track. Cross country is where I began my journey from being overweight to transitioning into the athlete I am now. Junior year is where I began to take off when our program was gifted two new coaches who knew what they were doing. The swim team has also made me into athlete I am today.  Long yardage and intense land workouts has gotten me in great shape. These coaches are also part of the reason I’m where I’m at today.

The memories I have made throughout out high school are too many to count, but I’ll never forget them. When I got my license it made things so much easier to get together with friends and make those memories. Junior year is where I believe I took off socially. I made so many memories and made a numerous amount of friends. Senior year has also been great to me because I treasure every moment with my friends because next year I’ll be without them. The greatest thing I’ve done senior year is start going to baseball games and hang out with a good group of people. A trip to Canton to watch the boys play was a great time with those people.

Lastly heartbreak has played apart into my time in school. In my first three years I hadn’t really experienced any heartbreak, but this year has shown me that every moment is precious. At the beginning of the year, in September, I lost someone who played a significant part in my life. That person was Rachel Dean. Rachel was my assistant swim coach who taught me how to do a flip turn and butterfly. Junior year we grew to be closer and that was because we talked about so much about life and the silliest things. I’ll never forget the night when I got the message to come to West for a meeting on September 14th at 8:42pm. I knew something happened because when I got there I saw my teammates along with fellow members of the swim community. After minutes that felt like hours, my coach arrived and delivered the news that Rachel passed away in a car accident. There were so many what if’s in my mind but nothing would help to accept that she was gone. An influential figure gone from my life. From then on I knew that life on this earth is precious and I have to value every moment.

Just after I had gotten over her loss another person died in a car accident that wasn’t there fault. Olivia Sonetz passed away in an accident and that would bring back flashbacks of Rachel and I again felt lost because another life was gone to soon. These heartbreaks have led me to follow living everyday like it’s my last.

High school has been pretty good to me because of my friends, sports, and memories that I’ll cherish forever.