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"GETTING STARTED" by Anonymous

While filling the shoes of a center may be the most exciting position on the court, playing guard is the toughest place to be by far while playing a game -- a game of basketball that is. Being the shortest seventh-grade player on the street is even tougher. My height is always keeping me from getting the orange thing in the basket.

The one person who taught me how to play a good game is my brother. Simply the best on the street -- don't bet against him. Believe it or not, I'm getting better with his help. I'm still the worst player on the court whenever I'm in there. In fact, you'd better be leaving me on the bench if I played on your team.

I don't shoot well enough to be a shooter. I don't score enough to be a scorer. I don't rebound enough to be a banger. Come to think of it, I don't pass the ball that well, and I'm not much on defense. So is this the year I get my act together? Probably not.

So why do I like playing games that are usually for tall people? Well, because I like it. And because it makes me feel tall, even though there can be a 6'6" giant standing above me. Since I'm only 4'10", most people are at least a couple inches taller than I am. And since I'm so enthusiastic, they let me play.

There's two parts to this problem. The first part is I'm short. I know it doesn't seem tough to be a runt, but at times you can feel as big as a peanut and twice as dumb.

The second part is the fact that I'm nowhere close to being the next Larry Johnson, but maybe with luck I can be the next Mugsy Bogues. And although both of these problems put together isn't anything like racism, abuse, or being paralyzed, it can be frustrating.

There is pressure you face every day in this world.

This essay is reprinted from the book From Darkness to Light: Teens Write About How They Triumphed Over Trouble with permission of the publisher, Fairview Press.