Walking into school Monday morning, Cassy didn’t understand the snickers. “What’s going on?” she whispered to her best friend, Connie.
Connie looked around, shaking her head. “No idea. Did you do something weird over the weekend?”
Cassy pulled her books more tightly against her chest, unconsciously curling her shoulders forward. “My parents dragged me furniture shopping,” she muttered. “They want to replace the sofa in the living room.”
Connie laughed. “Yeah, the one where the springs are broken?”
Cassy nodded slightly because she hated being the center of attention. “Yes,” she whispered and headed to her locker. Putting away her homework notebooks, she got the textbooks and notes she’d need for her history and math class.
“Good weekend?” Jessica Meyers called out.
Jessica was the school’s beauty queen and, to date, only acknowledged Cassy when a test was handed back and Cassy beat Jessica’s score.
Connie leaned in, her eyes following Jessica as the mean girl continued down the hallway, her posse of friends and sychophants trailing behind, all of them snickering. “I wouldn’t consider sofa shopping to be all that exciting,” Connie replied, her eyes obviously confused.
Cassy nodded, but remained silent, sifting through her locker so she didn’t have to see the other students who were pointing at her, then whispering.
“What in the world is going on?” Connie muttered.
“I don’t know,” Cassy replied, then grabbed her books, once again hugging them in front of her. Although all of the girls in school wore bras now, Cassy had “matured”, as her mother liked to call her larger than average breasts, faster than the other students.
“Hey Cassy!” one of the boys called out.
Cassy stopped in the middle of the hallway. Jeremy Benson? He’d said hello to her? Okay, now she knew that something was really wrong! Jeremy was one of the cutest boys in school! In fact, he’d dated Jessica last year and, because he was so cute, the two were still friends! At twelve, it was very important to be friends with the “right” people. In Cassy’s world, the “right” people generally ignored her.
“Did Jeremy Benson just talk to you?” Connie whispered in shock.
“Yes,” Cassy replied back, then slowly moved forward, still concerned but there was a happy glow about her now.
History class was fine and that happy glow increased when Cassy got her history test back with a perfect score. She didn’t bother to look over at Jessica, preferring to tuck her test, and her happiness, away so that she could savor it.
On her way to math class, she noticed several other people whispering and pointing, but she had no clue what was going on. Slumping into her seat in algebra, she opened her book and reviewed her homework.
By lunchtime, the happy glow was gone and Cassy felt…ostracized, although she had no idea why. So when Connie rushed over to their normal table in the cafeteria, Cassy sighed with relief.
“Did you have sex with Tommy Leland over the weekend?” Connie demanded.
Tommy Leland wasn’t one of the “beautiful people”, but he was one of the guys on the edges of that coveted circle. He wasn’t very cute, but he could make people laugh, which was good enough to be allowed on the fringes of the coveted circle.
But sex? With Tommy? Cassy’s mouth fell open and she stared at her friend for a long moment. She then looked around at all of the others, many of whom were staring, laughing and pointing at her, then whispering to their friends.
Turning back to Connie, she shook her head. “Is that what’s going on? Do people think that I…?”
“Yes! That’s what all of this whispering is about,” Connie confirmed, taking her sandwich out of her lunch bag and taking a big bite. “They say that you wanted to see what all of the fuss was about.”
Connie looked at Cassy as if she’d said something outrageous. “SEX!” she whispered, making the word sound scandalous.
Cassy pulled back, staring down at her own sandwich, tossing Connie’s revelation around in her mind. Finally, she shook her head. “I’m not really even sure how to have sex,” she replied. “And I’d really like to kiss a boy before I have sex.”
Connie giggled, nodding her head. “Yeah, that would be pretty nice.”
Cassy barely ate her sandwich, too upset by the rumors and trying to figure out who might have started such a vicious lie.
By the end of the day, Cassy was almost in tears. The girls were snickering at her and several boys had approached, wanting to “experiment”, as one of them told her.
Walking into her house after school, she raced up the stairs and threw herself onto her bed, finally allowing herself the freedom to cry now that she was alone.
Her mother came home after work and started dinner, but Cassy didn’t come down to help. When her father arrived home that night, Cassy claimed she had a stomach ache and begged off from dinner. That excuse also got her out of school the next day, but by Wednesday, she couldn’t fake an illness any longer.
The next three days at school were miserable! The boys continued to approach her, several with lewd requests, many of which Cassy didn’t even understand. The girls completely ignored her and even Connie mentioned needing to go to the library during lunch.
By the following Monday, Cassy was sick of the rumors and disgusted with being cowed. Instead of bowing her head in shame, she walked into school Monday morning with her head held high, determined to glare at anyone who dared to approach her with crude comments or suggestions.
“Frisbee?” sixteen year old Nasir repeated, looking at his friend. “Are you serious?”
The Latin teacher laughed, then tossed the Frisbee into the air again, easily catching it in his hands. “Absolutely. Frisbee football is a sport and I’m trying to organize a team. Come on!”
Nasir pushed away from his desk and followed, curious at the idea. Worst case, he and his friends tossed the Frisbee around and had a break from studying for finals. Best case, he learned a new sport.
“Okay, it’s just like American football!” James, the organizer of the teams called out. “You throw the disc down the field and the other team tries to intercept it. If you catch the disc, you have to keep one foot in place or the other team gets the disc.”
The players lined up and Nasir looked around, amused by the whole concept.
But as soon as the disc was thrown, Nasir sprinted forward, racing to intercept the disc. Leaping into the air, he caught the disc with the edge of his fingers only seconds before it would have passed through the air to the opposing team member.
“Fling it, Nasir!” Mark called out. Nasir swung around and whipped the disc through the air towards his teammate who easily caught it. Sprinting down the field, Nasir got into position to once again receive the disc, caught it, then spun it back into the air.
Sixty seconds into the game, Nasir’s team scored!
All seven members of his team laughed, thrilled with the new sport. Over and over again, the teams battled with the seemingly frivolous disc. But to these men, several of them future world leaders like Nasir, plus many other future corporate leaders, there wasn’t anything frivolous about the sport.
Nasir went into the game just as he tackled everything else in his life – with absolute determination to win.
By the end of the hour, there were several bruised bodies, but all twenty men were covered in sweat, mud and grass stains as they headed towards the dining hall for dinner.
“You’re a beast!” Mark yelled in Nasir’s direction with a laugh. “I’ve never seen a man move that fast!”
Nasir chuckled as he grabbed another glass of water, drinking it down before filling it up again to repeat the process. Several other members of the team commented as well, but the teasing was all done with good humor.
Nasir took it all in, but what the others didn’t know was that he did everything to win.