It was my senior year of high school, late February. I was high jumping at the indoor state championship. One of my good friends, who was also a teammate, was jumping also; we would be competing against each other. This didn’t faze us, we had done it a million other times. We warmed, then sat down and talked to kill the time after warm up, like we always did. We both had a shot at winning, but we decided just to jump like we knew how to do. We had set a goal to take first and second together.
I don’t remember the early jumps other than we cleared them. The bar moved to five feet and not too many girls cleared that height. Then after 5’2” we were the only two left… we were going to take first and second. Once the last girl missed at 5’2” and we realized what had happened, my friend walked over to me and we high-fived and smiled. Then my friend said “So it’s every man for themselves now right?” I laughed, shook my head and said “yeah, right.” We knew we were going to both be cheering for each other.
Of course we both wanted to win. We are highly competitive individuals, but we were also friends and teammates. I was jumping second in the order just due to luck of the draw. Both of our first two jumps at 5’4” were misses. My friend’s last jump was a miss. It was my turn. If I cleared the bar, I would win the state championship — what I had been working toward for all of high school. If I missed, she would win.
There is a video my dad took of that jump from the stands, in the background you can hear my family cheering for me. The thing that stands out the most to me when I watch that video is my friend. She is standing there watching me jump. She knows the situation: I miss she wins, I make she loses. As soon as I start running she starts bouncing up and down like she is jumping for me and as soon as I get over the bar she leaps into this cheerleading style jump. Then she runs over to me and gives me a hug. That is friendship. I just beat her on one of the bigger stages of high school athletics, a title that most high school athletes strive for.
We went to colleges almost 400 miles apart and couldn’t be more different, but the relationship is still there. We text each other, call each other, Snapchat each other and see each other every time we are home. She is one of two friends from high school I am still close with. I love them both dearly.
I would encourage all of the incoming college freshman to remember your friends from high school. Most people have a story, like the one I told above, where one or more of their friends have shown true friendship. Don’t forget those stories; they are part of what made you. They left an impression. It is a given that you will grow apart from high school friends, but you have to make the effort to stay in touch with the ones that you want to stay in touch with. There will be excuses like being too busy, or that you will do it tomorrow. But how long does it take to shoot someone a quick text and see how they are doing? Less than 30 seconds.
I don’t stay in touch with a lot of people from high school, but the ones I do, I have quality relationships with. We are just as close if not closer than we were back then. Cherish your friends, life is finite and you never know when it might be gone.