Crossing the Chasm

What is an experience that affected you, and how has it?

A crowd of people forms at the entrance of the Eastside High School Gym. A five-foot-eleven, one-hundred-and-sixty-pound, curly-haired freshman shyly makes his way into the sea of faces. Today is tryouts for the Eastside basketball team. Eastside, my home for the next four years, lies in the most socioeconomically challenged area of Gainesville, Florida. It is a school with the highest number of students on free and reduced lunch in the county and also home to an International Baccalaureate program ranked in the top ten in the world. At this moment, however, I did not care about any of that. I had a passion for basketball, and I was ready to try out for the squad.

I made my way through the crowd of athletes, searching for a familiar face. However, I was denied this comfort. I was stunned, and after a quick double-take, I realized that, along with being a complete stranger to the other kids trying out, I was the only white person in the gym. This did not bother me, but much to my surprise, as I navigated through the cluster of people, I could tell it bothered everybody else. I felt the blazing stares of the other kids as shouts echoed through the old gym. Never in my life had I felt like such an outcast. But I decided to ignore...

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