It was the summer after 5th grade. I was a quiet, gangly 11 year old that didn’t like attention of any kind so I tried to blend in. I was unusually tall for my age and had “developed” early. I looked like I was in 9th grade and I hated that because I stood out. I was also painfully shy. I avoided communication at all cost and I am quite certain I didn’t say a word to a boy until I was 16. Basically I was awkward.
(Fifth grade Savanna in all her awkward, Teva glory)
My parents had signed me up for the Churchill Jr. High volleyball and basketball summer camp hoping to put use to my height. I was naturally athletic but because I shot up so fast it took me a while to get used to my legs. I was like a baby giraffe learning to run.
Thank goodness for Summer and Amanda, my best friends for life. They were a few solid friends that kept me grounded and helped me feel secure in a situation that was so outside of my comfort zone. They did all the talking. We had looked forward to this summer camp because we got to see all the boys in the neighborhood. It was a meet up for all the local elementary schools that fed into Churchill. I was fine with it as long as they didn’t notice me.
The first day, the 3 of us walked into a big gymnasium filled with 11 year old kids…my worst nightmare. I shut my mouth and did what I did best, blend in. I peered at all of the boys. They were all at least 6″ smaller than me and they were loud and confident. I immediately noticed one boy in particular. He was very athletic and clearly had no problems with confidence. I looked around and noticed all the girls were watching him. I glanced back at him and our eyes met. Shock ran through me. I looked behind me to see if this boy was looking at someone else, but no one was there. Our eyes met again confirming he was looking at me! I overheard the pretty girls talking about him and found out his name was Steve Tate. Perfect athletic name for the most good looking boy in the room.
We didn’t talk. Remember when I said that I didn’t say a word to a boy until I was 16? I wasn’t kidding. I immediately ducked into the crowd and decided to hide myself behind all the popular girls. But, I never forgot that boy. I could blend in but always kept my eye on him.
Come to find out, several years later, Steve had noticed me too. He still remembers. We immediately knew that there was something special about the other. I had no clue that this was the beginning of a lifetime.