Category Archives: Countdown

1. Jim Holmes

Who didn’t see this one coming. It is no surprise that Jim tops the countdown of most influential positive impacts on my life. It is not a surprise to Jim, it is not a surprise to me, and it is not a surprise to anyone that knows him or I. I have known Jim since we were in 6th grade, but we have been best friends since 8th grade, totaling 7 years and counting. As for the impact, allow the story to begin.

Unlike the other pieces where I listed each person’s greatest impact on me at the end of the post, I am introducing it first in this one. There are a few reasons for this, the first being it is a long, detailed explanation. Another reason is because telling the story this way will allow my memory to be tapped and allow me to remember more things now, as opposed to saving some for later.

Every person over probably the age of 15 has a best friend, whether you have been that way since you were 2 years old or maybe you just found that friendship after turning 20, you have someone. For me, Jim has elevated what a best friend is. Most people can say that the next step above having someone as your best friend is considering them a brother or a sister to you, but it is not that way with Jim and I. I do not consider him a brother to me, I consider it to be somewhat of a different level. Brothers can be extremely alike and still not be totally alike. This is why I do not consider us to be brothers. I did not know in 8th grade that without either of us ever changing our personalities, that they would be the exact same. Of course it is possible to have the same sense of humor as someone, the same likes and dislikes as them, the same hobby preferences as them, but how often is someone the exact same as you? How often does someone find the same exact things funny that you do, and vice versa, finding things that annoy you also annoying to them? We both will tell you, and I can speak for him, that we would not act the same if we were paid, so it is remarkable that we are one in the same. Allow a few examples.

During our senior year of high school in English class, our teacher Mrs. Collacchio, would call on one of us. Since we both sat in the back of the room, we were somewhat out of sight. We decided that on a whim, one of us could answer for the other, and so we did. Not once did Mrs. Collacchio ever question who was talking, revealing later on that we sounded the exact same, both in tone and in terms of the words and phrases that we used. The teacher that replaced her during our senior year, Mr. Moffat, later admitted the same thing.

During the entirity of high school, our names became synonomous with each other. I swear whenever I heard a story about one of us, the phrase “Jim and Rob” or “Rob and Jim” was always used. Whenever a prank went on during school, oftentimes we were both called down to the office as the first suspects. It became commonplace to be called out of class, walk down the hallway into the office and see Jim standing there and asking him “What are we here for?” His response was always “I have no idea.” That’s the way it was.

From the beginning of high school, we adopted what I’ll call the “Jackass” mentality. This idea derives its name from the popular television show commonly shown on MTV. We began to start doing “stunts” or dumb little things for laughs, and sooner or later it just took off. We became the equivalent of George and Fred Weasley, except instead of selling prank materials, we provided the pranks ourselves for free. We became a form of entertainment whenever we chose to. Our resume includes, but is certainly not limited to:

  1. Bringing the entire cafeteria to silence and then announcing that the New York lottery is now 7 billion dollars.
  2. “Party Boying” Mr. Kenny as he walked down the hallway.
  3. Me scoring a goal in soccer outside during gym class then going to the center of the field and celebrating and Jim blindsiding me by plowing me directly into the ground. Anyone that has seen the video of Terrell Owens doing this on the Dallas Cowboys star at midfield will know what we were mimicking.
  4. Creating the Mini Johanemans floor hockey team along with Clayton Brooks, Marcus Jackson, and Dillon Nugent and being within one goal and one annoyance away from the semi-finals. Regardless, we were the fan favorites that night.
  5. Creating a “scavenger hunt” similar to the one from the Jackass show. It featured random acts that had to be performed and as they were, they were checked off, The team completing the most challenges won at the end of the day. Too bad it was cut short.
  6. Drawing an enormous Mr. Kenny on Mr. Wright’s blackboard and featuring him in leopard skin briefs. Luck was with us that day, as Mr. Kenny came in to converse with Mr. Wright and noticed himself drawn there, to which he smirked.
  7. Buying Mr. Kenny a bottle of Rogain and placing it on his desk only to receive the response “I’ll give this to my brother, he uses this stuff.”
  8. Jim getting his lunch priveleges removed for an entire week, creating a situation where he had to have me or someone else from the table get his lunch for him. Reason for this: excessive use of the “F” word directly to the lunch ladies.
  9. Shooting arrows directly into the woods during archery in gym class.
  10. Prank calling Wingdale Hardware along with Clayton and a few others and being one “yes” away from being arrested and taken out of school. The “yes” refers to the fact that the owner of the store had the choice of whether to press charges or not, luckily he chose not to.
  11. Scoring a goal in floor hockey and completely tearing my shirt off Hulk Hogan style and being told to change and leave immediately.
  12. Playing a form of tag in Health class and Jim deciding to avoid all tags by running 100 feet out of bounds and then diving into a pine tree to conceal himself. He still sports the scars.
  13. My personal favorite. During 10th grade English class, we read Othello and for the duration of the semester, Jim voiced Othello during the readings and I voiced Iago. We always read the characters using different voices ranging from Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Jackson, rastafarian, deep black male, little girl, old lady, even singing one verse to the beat of Blues Clues. It got so good that when it came time for new people to speak the parts, they refused to accept them, saying that they wanted Jim and I to continue because of the voiceovers we used.

The list goes on. I swear every day has the potential to put something else on the resume, if you will. Who knows what will happen next.

In any case, many of the other stories on this countdown had a beginning and an ending, but this one does not have an ending. There is no final opinion or statement or “if only we still spoke” type of phrase. This is the story on the countdown that truly could go on forever. Some others may be longer than this one in terms of words, but in terms of anecdotes or longevity, this story I am still living. I do have a conclusion, however.

Jim Holmes does one thing right that every person should do in order to be the best possible friend that they can be, that being always being honest. I can honestly say, there have been times when Jim told me something that would normally offend a friend, an example being “_____ (girlfriend’s name) is a bitch.” That does not offend me, I think everybody should speak like that. It wasn’t as if he made that up as his own opinion, in that instance he was right. I want friends in this world and in my life that tell me whatever they think, even if they KNOW I do not want to hear it.

That, to me, is true friendship.


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2. Ashley Woodin

This is perhaps the only real surprise of the entire countdown. You have seen the name so you know that Ashley Woodin is ranked number two, but you still don’t know exactly why. As it turns out, I have plenty of reasons and this is a story I love telling. It shows that true friendship can be found with the tiniest of gestures and that one person can pop into your mind even at the most random of times.

I like to say that the very first time I ever saw Ashley was also the very first time she ever saw me. This happened one day during my sophomore year of high school, towards the end of the year. I was going to my friend Jim’s house on his bus and we had gotten to the bus early and were sitting there conversing when Ashley got onto his bus. The thing that immediately stuck out to me was the fact that I had been on Jim’s bus many times before and knew that she was not on his route. As she walked past me I noticed her (then) long brown hair. The bus left school and went it’s usual way and soon we got to Jim’s stop. I went to stand up and looked towards the back of the bus and locked eyes with Ashley (didn’t know her name at that time) for a second, taking in her absolutely beautiful hazel eyes. I got off of the bus and that was that.

That night as I sat in Jim’s room on the computer, that girl I had seen on the bus crossed my mind. I wanted to, if nothing else, know who she was. I contacted my friend Dylan Young and asked if he could help me figure out who she was. He said that he would and started showing me various people’s Myspace account pictures based on my description of her to see if I recognized any of them. Eventually, I did and at that moment I learned that I had locked eyes with a girl named Ashley Woodin and that she was in 8th grade. Dylan went a step further and offered to give me her screen name so I could talk to her and get to know her. I accepted and thanked him.

I entered her screen name into my buddy list and began talking to her, notifying her that in case she was wondering, I had gotten her screen name from Dylan Young. She said that it was fine and we commenced. I explained that I had seen her on Jim’s bus and that I was a sophomore. She actually said that she didn’t remember seeing me, but we became acquainted nontheless. Before our conversation ended that night I decided to walk out on a ledge, so to speak. I knew that at our high school when you graduated from 8th grade, there was a dance to commemorate it. I asked Ashley if she had a date to that dance and, if not, could I be her date (upperclassmen were allowed to go with special permission, which was easy to obtain.) Unfortunately, the deadline to sign up upperclassmen ended Wednesday and it was now Friday, I was two days late, nothing I could do. Turns out I had a backup plan. The high school held monthly dances and the very last one of the year, the graduating 8th graders were permitted to go. The idea was that this would acclimate them, at least a little bit, to high school life. I asked Ashley to go to this and she accepted.

My father dropped me off early and I walked to the middle school and sat on one of the newly added benches. As I waited, I wondered how I would handle myself that night, what I would say, and other things of that nature. I watched as Mrs. Lawson-Boice and her husband loaded her belongings into his truck, putting the finishing touches on her teaching career at Dover High School. She had retired and given a speech at that years’ 8th grade graduation to which she received a tearful goodbye from Tori Bondi and a standing ovation from some members of the crowd, myself included. She had been my social studies teacher only two years prior and that night, watching that graduation, I had been teary eyed and can admit it without shame.

She greeted me with a “hello” and a “goodbye” accordingly, and she was gone. Amazing what goes through your mind as you see something like that. Soon after, Ashley got dropped off by her mom and saw me on the bench. We talked a bit then headed to the high school entrance to wait for the doors to open for the dance.

There isn’t much to report from the actual dance night itself really, only one instance. I was in the gym playing basketball with perhaps four or five other people and Ashley decided to watch. The game went on for a relatively long time and I kept looking over at her sitting there. At one point, she was laying down on the bleachers, possibly annoyed or bored. I felt extremely bad for not spending my time with her and felt that I had wasted her time by inviting her. We left that night after exchanging “goodbyes” and that entire car ride consisted of me thinking about her. I still felt badly and vowed to treat her better in the future, both as a friend and as a person. To say it now, if there were ever a “missed chance” so to speak involving a girl, that was it. I’m not saying I would have “made a move” or anything of that nature, but for someone who prides myself on and strives to be a nice guy, that was out of character and unacceptable.

After that night, we actually did become closer as friends, close enough to the point where I absolutely loved just sitting and talking to her for hours on end. It was around this time that she had given me her cell phone number and permission to call her whenever I wanted to. This was around the end of the school year so seeing each other in school would soon be over. During those last few days, I developed the habit that I still have to this day, that being listening to music that relates to my situation. In those days, I came to school every morning listening to my Breaking Benjamin cd. I chose to listen to the songs that easily fit into what I was feeling. Surprisingly, many of the tracks could fit into my life at that point. This act of listening to music also encompassed my bus ride home from school. I still remember my last day of 10th grade, also her last day of 8th grade, and how we had nothing to do so we walked around the school just talking. When the buses arrived at the school early because it was a half day, it was time to go, summer break awaited. Before I boarded my bus, Ashley and I shared “goodbyes,” “happy summers,” and a hug. She walked to her bus, I got on mine, turned on my Breaking Benjamin cd, and smiled.

As I stated earlier and want to get back to, we spoke on the phone alot. I would get bored at my house, get on my bike, ride up the street to the train station, call Ashley, and talk for any amount of time. After awhile, I gave her my house number so she could call me as well. I remember at one point, she was going on a mini vacation to Maine for a few days and kept telling me how she would be bored the entire time. I decided that I could probably, in a small way, save her some of the boredom by calling her on some of those days, so I did. During those calls we discussed everything from her jumping off of a dock into the water to the possibility of seeing a moose. We talked about everything.

After that trip of hers, I’m left with only one more phone story. It was during that summer and I had called her at around 9:30 or 10:00 at night. Without it being planned or even acknowledged, we conversed until shortly after 5 o’clock in the morning. Thinking back now, that is the longest phone call I have ever had and probably will ever have in my entire life.

Before discussing Ashley’s greatest positive impact on my life, I just want to insert one more small anecdote. Her and I attended a birthday party at Austin Gonzales’s house that included other friends as well. Somewhere around halfway through that party, we were all sitting downstairs in the basement eating and Ashley and a couple of her friends wanted to hear some music, so they started using the big stereo to do so. The only song I remember being played was one that they referred to as the “Deer Song.” It was a song that I had never heard before but I enjoyed it nontheless. The song’s real name is “Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down” and it is by Fall Out Boy. I know why they called it the “Deer Song” but if anyone reading this doesn’t, simply watch the music video and it’ll all fall into place. Now every time I hear that song, the first and only thing that pops into my head is Ashley Woodin.

Now for the finale, if you will. The number one positive influence that Ashley had and has on me was not one of her own doing. It is something that I learned and still take with me to this day as a personal message. Some close friends may have even heard me quote that belief. Before I say it, I want to show how I came to believe it.

Everyone that knows me closely knows that I absolutely love biking. Growing up, and even now, it is my source of transportation to so many places. I’ve biked to Dutchess Community College to take a final exam at eight in the morning (61.52 miles round trip.) I’ve biked from New York to Connecticut in the pouring rain (22.82 miles.) I’ve biked to my old bus stop and left my bike there until the bus dropped me off later that afternoon after my parents selfishly moved our family out of the district (11.98 miles every day for 2 months.) I even take part in an annual bike marathon race for chairty that takes place in Pleasant Valley, both of these times a section of the race was in pouring rain. That marathon is 26.2 miles and I finished 5th out of 20 in 2007 and 4th out of 30 in 2008 and led a large portion of the race, maybe 7 or 8 miles. This year I’ll try to do even better. If you know that I bike, you’ve probably called me crazy for doing it. I have just come to adopt the idea that everyone my age drives everywhere so me biking equal or greater distance is against the norm, therefore “crazy.” Either way, odds are if I have been to a friends house, at least one of those visits was via bike. Ashley is no exception to this rule.

One day during a phone conversation, she gave me semi-directions to her house from mine and I set out to get there on bike. This was really when I started biking great distances (my house to hers and back totalled 23.54 miles.) I left one Saturday morning and biked to the road that she lived on but as it turns out, the road is very long and contains many houses. I didn’t make it to the house so when I got back home I called her and asked if the house that I had arrived at was hers. She told me that it wasn’t and that she lived further down that road. I said “okay” and told her I would make it next time.

The second time I once again didn’t make it far enough and she gave me more detailed instructions. The third time proved to be the charm and I rode back feeling accomplished for actually finding the proper location this time. I got home and called her and explained my success. We discussed that I should notify her the next time I was going to take that trip so that she could be outside and we could talk. This offer I accepted.

My next trip there came a few weeks later. I told Ashley early that morning that I would be coming but hadn’t given her a time. Truth be told, I didn’t even know when I would leave because I was at a friend’s house. I got home around noon that day and left on my journey.

When I arrived at her house, I looked up her driveway and saw her standing there doing something with a skateboard. I was surprised that at random, she was outside when I got there. She saw me and came down the hill and we spoke for a few minutes until I rode back home.

Since that bike ride, I have only taken one more bike ride to Ashley’s house, that being on June 21st, 2009. This is the date mentioned in my earlier post as being the worst day of my life thus far. I rode there for reasons unknown, but probably because, for me, that destination held happiness for me on a day that I had been torn in so many ways. That part of the trip was in pouring rain, but well worth it. After that, I ended up at Clayton’s.

These bike rides to Ashley’s, as stated, have helped me live by my own mantra. I developed it based on those rides and my connection with her.

I thank you, Ashley, for being such a large part of my life, even if you don’t think you are or were. I thank you for being my friend and giving me someone to talk to about everything. I still remember what you said to me when I graduated from high school. “Congratulations Rob. I know you will be successful in all that you do and remember, you’ll always be my bro.” That meant alot. It still does. And for what you have given me that means the most, my quote for every bike ride that I have ever taken and still have yet to take:

“The destination is always, always, worth the journey.”

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4. James/Paula Holmes

This ranking is dedicated to and outlines the greatest set of parents that I have ever known, including my biological ones. From the day I met these two individuals, I knew that they were the type of parents I had always envisioned having myself. They were not overly strict and let their son Jim and I have quite a long leash when it came to our horseplay. To this day, I laugh at some of the things they not only let us do, but took part in themselves. 

I met James and Paula officially in the summer of 2003, (unofficially in the spring of that same year when our car parked next to theirs at our 8th grade graduation and we exchanged “hellos”) when I attended Jim’s birthday party on the 27th of June. At that time I didn’t know that I would ever develop the relationship with them that I have now or that one day I could openly say that they represented parents to me.

Together, James and Paula are a joy to know, but it is their individual qualities that made me think of things I had never had in my own family life. These feelings and actions came about after I moved into their home during my senior year of high school. It was during this time that I came to really appreciate all that they had done for me.

Paula was the one that conversed with me the most out of the pair. She always kept me updated about what was going on at her workplace or at the house. Whenever the family was going anywhere, including their yearly vacation to Pennsylvania, she always asked me if I wanted to go. When she would do the weekly grocery shopping every Friday, I would bike the 50 minutes or so (twice in pouring rain) just to go shopping with her simply because I felt like it. It was times like these that I felt like a member of their family.

James represented the ideal father to me and one I have and always will compare to my own. I like James, whom I called “Big Jim,” because he didn’t demand that you respect him, he simply respected you and by doing so deserved that respect in return, which I gave him. After I would get home from school and he got home from work, we would frequently go into the basement and work on various things. The major project that we worked on was fixing up what are called “reels.” These are machines that are attached to mowers and allow the grass on golf courses to be cut very small. Every year, a friend of his that did this type of work allowed Big Jim to fix up all of his reels and then paid him for doing so.

I was very accepting when James asked me to help him with this work and he would pay me for doing so. I can remember to this day sitting in the basement after doing a day’s work and waiting for dinner and thinking to myself “I have waited 19 years to do this kind of stuff.” I truly had not had such a bond with a father figure, not even my own, ever.

There was always work to be done around the Holmes residence, whether it was indoors or outdoors. It might have been the dishes needing to be cleaned off and put into the dishwasher or it could have been mowing the lawn. Regardless of the type of work, I enjoyed doing those chores. I never once objected to helping and most of the time I started doing something without ever being asked to. I knew that I was not going to be lazy around the house from the beginning. After all, these two people had welcomed me into their home without demanding a dime and I wanted to show my gratitude by being treated exactly like their own children when it came to chores and work.  I never wanted to be treated special or as an outsider, and I never was.

To this day, I still consider James and Paula to be my parents. It is obvious that they are not this way in a biological sense but when it came to the roles parents play and the support that they provide, they are my parents in every sense of the word. Their home provided the sanctity that I always longed for (proven to be true most notably one spring afternoon when I was around 15 or 16 when my father and I had argued and I walked out of the house, essentially “running away from home,” and walked 2 hours to their house because it seemed like the right place to go) and I am thankful for that. Thinking back, I am not sure there is a way to fully thank the Holmes’ for what they have given me, both in terms of a home and the parental relationship. I can only hope that this piece and the way that I act today are a small testament of their affect on me.

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6. Nick Pfister

Nick and I went to the same high school but never spoke, not even once, throughout those years. It was our choice to both go to Dutchess Community College that created this bond.

Our first talk wasn’t even a conversation. Nick and I passed each other in Washington Hall at Dutchess and he asked me where the Student Services Center was, and I directed him to it. That was all. Contact online and in person when we saw each other at school followed, and this friendship was born.

The best times came when we actually carpooled to school in the Spring of 2008. It was the most basic things that made that semester enjoyable. The car ride to and from school was the highlight. It usually consisted of blasting Kid Rock and making sure to stop at Dunkin’ Donuts for a couple of chocolate donuts.

The significance of Nick’s friendship isn’t an easy one to write about, due to it’s -you have to have been there- type feeling. I do thank him for the rides he provided to school and his generosity when I lacked money for breakfast. It also helps to be one of the close friends I still have contact with to this day, as many on this countdown have faded.

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7. Clay/Karen Brooks

If it had not been for Clay and Karen Brooks, I would never have completed my high school career at Dover High School. They are to thank for allowing me to live a dream of sorts, that being my want to go from kindergarten until graduation day of senior year in the same school district.

During February of my junior year in high school, my parents decided to move from Dover Plains to a nearby town after living in our same house for 13 years. Their reasons for doing so were unclear, but the message conveyed was simple: my brothers, sister, and I would finish the rest of this school year at Dover and then switch to our local school for the next school year. Out of the four of us, I was most adamant on not leaving. Dover school district was responsible for a tremendous amount of happiness in my life. I had forged relationships with people, gotten used to the system, and enjoyed my time there. My parents tried to argue that I would just have to get over it and move on but I spoke out every chance I got. I was not going to switch schools when I had one year remaining until I graduated, and no one could have convinced me otherwise.

As time went on, I began to think of solutions. Simply “just going” was out of the question as the principal had made it very clear that I did not live within the radius required to go to school in Dover. My other option was a long shot, but if it worked, I could finish school in the district. I decided that I would talk to some friends and see if I could live with them and their families. Although this seemed like a good solution, it was not guaranteed to work and I had very few options. Instinctively, I contacted my best friend Jim about the issue. It was only proper to ask his family because I had the best relationship with them. After discussions it was determined that I would not be permitted to live with them. While this hurt, I had to keep trying. This is when Clay and Karen helped out.

I had been going over my friend Clayton’s house for awhile now, starting in my junior year. I found his mom to be extremely nice and his dad was someone to talk to. I had run the idea of living with him by Clayton and we determined that we would ask his parents when the time was right. I wasn’t really in a rush yet, so I agreed. In the mean time, I just spent my time hoping that they allowed me to stay with them. As time went on, and we still waited to ask, it became clear to me that this was probably my last option. If they said “no,” chances are I would have to give up my search.

As it turns out, the time came sooner than we expected. One day while riding home in the car, Clayton and his mom were talking about various things. The conversation shifted to my situation and her asking him if I had found someone to stay with. He told her that I hadn’t and suggested that I stay with them. His mother responded that, while it could work, she would just have to discuss it with her husband. The discussion occurred some time later and in the end I was given my chance. I moved into their home in late August of 2006. I was relieved, to say the least. I now had the chance to finish what I had started at age five.

I give high praise to these two individuals because they, like so many others, knew how passionate I was about not leaving Dover High School. They took the proper steps to make sure that I wouldn’t have to leave the place where all my roots were planted. For this, I am and always will be thankful.

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8. Robert/Terry Schreyer

As the last name indicates, this entry discusses Melissa’s parents and one of the four sets of parents I have had in my life. I felt this way very early on after meeting them, but more so after they allowed me to move in with them.

The day I met them, they allowed me to sleep over their house without dispute. I knew from the beginning that they were nice people who continually went our of their own way to help me or allow Melissa and I to go certain places. With me not having a license or car of my own, they offered to drive me home when that time came, and I never seemed to be a nuisance to them. They included me in plans that they had such as going to the campground or getting dinner somewhere. I liked the freedom they granted us in terms of allowing Melissa to use their car(s) to go places that we wanted to. Together they were nice, but they each had their own characteristics to be admired.

I liked Terry’s caring feeling for her daughter, a feeling that we shared. She made us call her when we arrived at and left places we went to make sure we made it. To some kids or young adults this seems annoying but I didn’t mind it. A simple phone call didn’t appear to be any waste of time to me. She also didn’t mind paying for us to go places, allowing us to have fun at carnivals and other recreational spots. I always felt welcome because Terry would always ask if I wanted to go wherever they were going. I was never left out.

Robert, or Ray as everyone calls him, was the exception to the typical father when it came to their daughter and dating.  From the very first day, he was completely kind to me and it was him who gave the final OK to let me sleep over that first day. He has a stance which I hope to adopt as a parent, standing by his children’s decisions and allowing them to make those decisions. He supported Melissa and her choices and said he would always help where he was needed. Most of all, I liked his openness to me helping around their house/yard. This was the case when the heating vent underneath their house had caved in and Ray could not go under to fix it due to his bad knee. He instead allowed Melissa and I to fix the problem with the instructions he provided. It was one of those jobs that no matter what, I didn’t want to be rewarded for because it felt good just to be doing the work so their house could once again have proper heating circulation.

Together, Ray and Terry became parents to me just by being themselves. They allowed me to move in with them in January 2007 and if it were not for my own actions, I would probably still be living there today. In any case, I was thankful for that chance and every other chance that they have ever given me.

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9. Marcus Jackson

Marcus has always been a third younger brother to me. I mentioned T.J. in an earlier post and his affect on me, but it was his younger brother here that had a much greater influence. Marcus was always the first one outside when were younger and always eager to take part in whatever sport was being played that day. We always evened out our talent base, my younger brother Ray and I versus my other brother Matt and Marcus. It kept the games competitive and good natured. It also provided 13+ years of rivalries, all of which I loved.

Marcus allowed me to take a look at what I was growing up, sort of him being the living rewind of me. I watched him and his ability to always remain active and upbeat, and saw myself in those characteristics. Like I said in the T.J. piece, it was hard moving away after all those years, having our families separate after 13 years of being so close.

I got a bit of reward my senior year in high school, when Marcus and I were in the same gym class. The fun of our youth was rejuvenated all over again but this time we were always on the same team or side. We, along with Jim, Clayton, and Dillon Nugent, formed the “Mini Johanemans” floor hockey team and entered the tournament. Much to our surprise, we were crowd favorites and actually played very well. We didn’t win, but it was the best tournament and team I’ve ever been a part of. I asked Marcus to be on the dodgeball team that year too, supplying his jersey and everything. That tournament also ended in loss, but it was fun regardless.

I still maintain contact with Marcus, haven’t spoken in about a month but we still make conversation. He was the first friend of mine to contact me online and congratulate me on graduating from high school. It was friends like him that made me miss high school, a feeling that I still have, and probably always will.

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