Making friends when you've always gone to the same school is relatively easy. Growing up with these people, you're bound to make a friend or two along the way. Luckily, I was able to make great friends throughout my years in high school. Some of the friendships I cherish most, however, were with people I never once sat in a classroom with.

Calling them "long-distance" friends may be a tad overdramatic, but when we first met on a 6th grade AAU basketball team, our mothers still had to drive us whenever we chose to hangout. Making the 45 minute drive to each sleepover and party seemed endless, and slightly impractical. Regardless, our friendships grew, as sporadic team bonding turned into sleepovers whenever we had the chance.

The team itself was extremely difficult, and we found ourselves frustrated and upset following practices. By enduring this together, our bond strengthened. We sought one another for support, growing our trust and reliance upon one another. Even when we felt like quitting, we stayed for we couldn't bare the thought of playing with anyone else.

Since then, our small group of five has celebrated birthdays, gone on beach trips, and anticipated the next free moment we could see each other. When I quit basketball, we stayed friends. When we went into high school, we stayed friends. Finally, we each got our licenses, and our parents no longer had to make the long drive to drop us off at one another's houses

They say distance makes the heart grow fonder, and in this situation I found that to be the case. The longer I go without seeing them, the more I cherish the experience when we are able to find the time. We can go months apart, but as soon as we are back together it is as if no time has passed at all.

Going into college, we are once again going our separate ways. Instead of two different high schools, we will now be scattered at five completely different colleges. Although we're excited by the prospect of day trips to see one another, our ease of visitation will once again revert back to our sixth-grade parent-escorted levels. Our long distance friendship is becoming even more long distance.

Yet, I don't find the distance daunting. Wherever we may be, I will always know that basketball gave me four forever friends. We've overcome shorter distances and greater lengths of time, and we can certainly do it again. What started as teammates turned to best friends and ultimately family.

Thank you, Julie, Gabby, Taylor, and Emily. Your friendship means the world to me.