2nd Place Essay Winner
Be Someone’s Hero- Stand Up to Hazing
By Sarah Durack
Swimming on a girl’s high school team, there is always going to be drama. Someone is always going to be crying, yelling, and believe it or not, fighting each other. No one on the team ever really took it seriously; we kind of just laughed it off, not even our coach made a big deal about it. But there was always this one girl that we sometimes took it a little too far with. We all knew how mean it was, but the reaction we got out of her was just too funny to resist. But, after one incident, I realized I needed to make a change and stand up to hazing.
This girl did not know how to stand up for herself, she was not raised in the most conventional way so I do not think she really understood what was going on with the girls on the swim team. She was kind of like our team play toy that we just messed around with when we were bored. But one day I was kicking with my two friends and we noticed her out of the corner of our eye trying to keep up with us. We started laughing and yelling at her, just joking around like we normally do, and I thought that she would stop. But she kept going and one of my friends started taunting her and yelling at her saying things like, “you’ll never be as fast as us”, or “you should just stop trying already”. I will never forget the way I felt at that moment, I was so uncomfortable, I had stopped laughing a while ago and I was so scared, I did not know what to do. The poor girl got out of the pool and ran into the locker room crying, and all my friend did was laugh. It was at this point when I realized how wrong the whole situation was, I ran into the locker room after the girl. She was sitting on the ground crying and I hugged her and apologized to her.
I then walked out and went up to my coach, I told him how wrong this whole situation was and how, since he was the coach, he needed to yell at the girls for bullying. The whole team sat down and we had a long talk about bullying and how we go too far sometimes. Everyone apologized to the girl and made a promise that nothing like that would ever happen again. From that moment on, I never allowed any more bullying on the team to happen and I always watched out for the girl. If I could go back in time and stop the whole situation from happening I would. I would have never even made fun of her in the first place; I should have always considered as a person instead of as a toy to mess with. But I know better now and I will never allow bullying or hazing to happen when I am around to stop it.