Art of the Essay

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The Art of the Essay
It is the fall of 2008, and a 14 year old kid is sitting in his Freshman Introductory English class. Classes essentially just started and like always, the new freshmen are still giddy in the excitement of a new school with new classes. Kids walk around with their class schedules in their back pockets, stopping and investigating the potential of each and every one of their friends' list of classes. Freshman English, Freshman Science, Algebra I, World History, and Fundamentals of Technology run rampant among their schedules. The kids are still learning each others' names, as they are all from a choice of five different neighboring towns. Some kids talk with their friends about how you have “much more freedom” as a high school student than you do in middle school, others about recent successes on the football/soccer/cross country team, as it is that time of the year. Many kids, myself included, are pumped about the fact that we finally get to wear our own school's color when playing football, instead of playing on one of the recreation teams, as there were no middle school football teams. It is safe to say that most freshmen at WA were full of emotions; anxiety, anticipation, and excitement among them.

However, a month into a Freshman English class, I had lost most of these feelings. The two feelings I remember most about this particular class are hopefulness and boredom. I was hopeful that each 84 minute class would end (soon) without having to go home and write a paper after football practice. Word on the streets was that they made you write huge, long, drawn-out papers in high school. I was also very bored. Learning about Shakespeare as a freshman was just not what I was looking for. At that point in my life, I would much rather have eaten a can of (vile) pickled beets than read some Shakespeare.

Our first writing assignment, as the teacher put it, would be a “simple and fun” one. I'm not going to speak for my classmates on this one, but when a teacher says something is gonna be “simple” or “fun” or “simple and fun,” I can't help but grit my teeth and ask Him for forgiveness. A ninth-grade teacher's idea of fun is typically not along the same lines as that of a ninth-grade student's. Fun to me at this time would have included, but was not limited to, riding fourwheelers, playing football on the soccer field, riding my bike with my friends, playing Xbox, and so on. Our idea of fun to a ninth-grade English teacher? Write a five-page narrative on a memorable experience in your life and what it meant to you and what you took from it. I thought to myself as I received the rubric and outline, “What the heck am I gonna write about?” It took me a day or two to successfully brainstorm an idea; I actually began to write about one topic at first and decided to scrap it because I just didn't have enough memory of the situation. But when this thought crossed my mind, something in my head clicked. I was going to write a narrative on a dramatic football game we had won earlier in this season. The game, in retrospect, felt like it came straight out of a movie. It was a really hot day; I remember writing about the bus ride to the field, and the pre-game warm-ups. At first, the game looked like it would be a blowout. They got up on us 14-0 early. It was at this point that our fate looked bleak.

However, we stayed with it and tied it up. I ended up scoring a kick-return touchdown and a receiving touchdown, while in the last few minutes of the game, one of my best friends (throughout middle and high school and still today) took the ball right out of the opposing running back's hands and made a beeline for the end zone. The touchdown pretty much sealed the victory, as we went up 27-26 with very little time to go. As you may already be able to tell, it was a memorable game for me, as I can still give you a quarter-by-quarter recap of the game. I believe this made the paper, I hate to say it, “simple and fun.” I...
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