Best Buddies

Life is unvarying in that everyone on Earth technically lives. Yet life is individual in that everyone lives differently. Life is a big…

Best BuddiesLife is unvarying in that everyone on Earth technically lives. Yet life is individual in that everyone lives differently. Life is a big…

Life is unvarying in that everyone on Earth technically lives. Yet life is individual in that everyone lives differently. Life is a big game. The best “players” live life to the fullest and do not think about anything else because when it comes down to it, the most essential part of life is living. In my life I have learned not just in the textbooks, but also from the people around me. Those people, my best buddy and a great friend have passed down their “cheat codes” for life, most notably the qualities of perseverance, jollity, and philanthropy.

Best Buddies is a club at my school that creates friendships between people like me, and students in the special needs department. My buddy, Luke Humble, changes my life every single day. A twenty-year-old student at Chaparral, Luke suffers from Down syndrome. Although Luke is not the fastest speaker, we find ways to effectively communicate through text and in person. But Luke is not in any of my classes, does not get to sit at my lunch, and I don’t often see him throughout the day. Luke and I do not look the same, we do not play on the same sports team, nor do we live near each other.

This is not the ideal structure for a “best” buddy. To that I say, so what? Although we do not have the best circumstances in line, we find ways to work it out. But more importantly, Luke teaches me, not through his words, but through his actions that it is a necessity to live life to it’s fullest. A mere label like “special” does not stop him from bowling without the bumpers and going on the announcements more than any other kid at the school.

Luke is only special in the regard that he, unlike many others at our school, knows how to live. A few years ago, Luke and I, along with several other buddies, worked on a project that would fund I Pads to enhance the learning in the Special Education department. From marketing on the announcements to posting on social media, we successfully sold nearly $2000 worth of shirts to our community. In addition to directly helping the community, Luke has helped me have more fun. From going to the movies to playing at the park, we find to opportunities to enjoy ourselves. This elementary idea, of having fun, is not always an easy thing to do. Luke, although handicapped in many ways, shows me that anyone can have fun.

Philanthropy welcomes everyone. My good friend and I created a club two years ago in hope of raising money for charitable organizations through the sale of apparel. This little idea has grown up. To date we have raised over $14,000 for organizations such as the American Cancer Society and the Red Cross. One particular event changed my life forever. Last year, my same friend, lost his sister due to Cancer at the age of 18. His sister had been battling Cancer for nearly 10 years. Managing to keep a 4.0 GPA throughout all of high school, receiving scholarships from both ASU and the UofA, she was and is an inspiration to the entire community. If she could do that, what is everyone else’s excuse? Months later, the family created a scholarship fund in her name at ASU’s honors college simply titled Play Big. The fund rewards students who show that they can survive in difficult scenarios while excelling in school.

Years ago, we teamed up to produce the largest fundraiser in the history of Chaparral High School. At the football game, we sold over 900 shirts and raised well over 10,000 for the Play Big Scholarship fund. Even today, 7 months later, hundreds of kids wear the shirts simply titled PLAY BIG. The lesson in this scenario is that everyone can play big: the football team, the cheerleaders, the people in the stands, and even the person battling cancer as we speak.

The only way to learn the laws of life is to simply experience them. Although I am making an attempt to write them down, it simply does not do the experiences justice. When it comes down to it, the laws cannot be found in textbooks, nor can they be found on the Internet, but rather through personal stories and adventures. As I mentioned earlier, life is a game that everyone has to play, a lot of people look for shortcuts, and others look to ruin the competition, but the best players are those who understand how to make the best out of the least, while finding a way to give the most to those who have the least.

Originally published at

Tagged in Sports, Life, Best Buddies, Earth Technically, My Student Voices

By jordangonen on July 23, 2017.

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Exported from Medium on February 17, 2018.