Original Memoir – “No Namers”


Henry Yoon: Grade 6

I was the skinniest kid in the entire state of New York.

Ok, maybe I wasn’t the skinniest kid in the entire state of New York, but still, that fact was debatable. I was like a mutant. I was a freak! I was so abnormal that other kids would make all these obnoxious comments about me.

“Yoonboy can’t hold down the seats at a movie theater!”

“The wind can’t blow Yoonboy down because there is no angle to catch!”

“Hey, did you hear? Yoonboy disappeared! Yeah! He turned sideways.”

I couldn’t blame them. I could literally put my hands around my chest.

At the yearly checkup at the doctor’s office, the doctor forces you onto a scale and measures you (but I get humiliated). I once got so humiliated that I put huge metal weights in my socks. But that restricted my movements so much that the doctor caught me, and told me to pour them out.

Also, I was pretty untalented in almost everything. My drawing skills were awful. I had the worst writing skills. I felt like was going to flunk the fourth grade.

But the thing I stunk at the most was sports. Especially kickball.

As most of you know, in kickball, you either try to kick the ball as hard as you can and bounce it off the far wall, or tap it and at least try to make it to first base. I always landed on my face, right after tripping on the ball.

I remember this one practice where I was feeling more unconfident and hopeless than ever. I had been yelled at by my teacher, been grounded by my mom, and I had lost my blazer. Plus, some kid (I forget who) was boasting about his new Nike Hyperdunk sneakers, and pointing at my no-namers. You know, the ones that are so old you can’t see the brand or anything.

Going up to kick stressed me out. I know deep down that I would just trip on the ball again, and break my nose and crack open my skull.

I was up to kick when I saw the score. Our team was losing 6-5, but the bases were loaded. If I could…

The ball was sent at me. It rolled, menacingly, as if daring me to kick it. I closed my eyes and kicked it as hard as I could.

I thought I had made a homerun, because I heard the ball bounce off a wall. I had actually just fouled it.

“Strike One,” the pitcher said.

I was given another chance.

“Strike Two!”

At this point, I knew I had failed. My muscles relaxed, and the adrenaline flow stopped.

When the ball was rolled at me, I kicked it. But this time, I felt impact. The ball sailed over everyone’s heads. I started heading towards first, since it looked like I was going to make it in time. People were already lined up near the back wall, ready to catch the ball.

Then the funniest thing happened. The ball sailed into the basket. Swish. Nothing but net.

Everyone froze in place. Everyone was quiet for a split second. Nobody had ever kicked a basket, much less swish it in. Then the room exploded with noise.

“YEAAAAAHHH!”

“Wait, what happened?”

“Did anyone get that on videotape?” “Get what on videotape?”

“He was cheating. He was too far forwards.”

“Who was?”

“HOME RUN!” shouted the PE teacher.

I circled the bases triumphantly, getting the score up to 5-9, in our favor. When I sat back down on the bench, the kid from earlier was staring out into space, mouth agape.

I leaned over to him and said, “Let’s see your Nikes do that.”

As I walked through the rest of the day, rumors started to spread about my amazing skills.

“Yoon kicked in a basket!”

“I heard it was 5 baskets!”

People started looking at me in a new way. I was no longer the talentless airhead that everyone thought I was. I was good at something (well, not really). Some girls even heard about it, too. I tried to brush it off casually as if it were no big deal.

I would LOVE to say that this was the start of my athletics career, and that I would make it to the World cup and beat Messi and win in the U.S. Open or something.

Forget the idea. I still stink at sports.

But every now and then, I play the moment over in my head. It gives me the feeling of finally being good at something, even if it is something minor. And that is good enough for me.

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