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National Student Essay Contest - 3rd Place (Grades 7 - 9)

John Forbes
Mears Middle School
Anchorage, Alaska

The Tough Decision

On a warm, spring afternoon in mid April, the crisp breeze swept through my hair. My fellow classmates and I had just finished devouring our lunches. We wanted some fresh air so we ran outside to the field for a classic game of touch football. We played this about every day and always had a blast. Occasionally, the teams were unbalanced, but the scores were continually close.

Today, I was chosen to be the first captain. The opposing captain, is my best friend, David. Everybody lined up on the goal line and David and I started selecting our players. First I chose Bronson and the Ryan. David picked Conor and then Mark.

There were about six people left, and I was trying to make a decision on who to pick. There is Chase, who is white, and is a quarterback. There is also Frankie, who is black, and a wide receiver. Both are outstanding players.

While I was considering the pros and cons of each player, Chase said to me, "Hey John! Who are you going to pick , a stupid ol' black kid, or me?

Everybody turned and stared at him with shocked looks on their faces. Frankie cast his eyes downward and put his hands in his pockets. I couldn't tell if he was mad, sad, or both. I felt sorry for him, because why would Chase want to make a negative remark about another team member.

Then in a loud voice, I said to Chase, "Come on.

That was harsh and completely uncalled for!"

"Oh, sorry Frankie," Chase muttered under his breath.

It was an awkward moment, so I broke the silence by picking Frankie. I was about to pick Chase, but because of the offending insult, I didn't.

In today's society, you are judged by: the color of your skin, your gender, and your religion. People making these remarks need to put themselves in other people's shoes. Like the saying, "Never judge a book by its cover," people should judge others by what's on the inside, and not on the outside.


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