The thing about having a set of best friends that you’ve known since the abysmal depths of middle school is that they tend to not let you forget things. Like the embarrassing, awkward things. The ones your brain has exhaustedly tried to repress in order to save your sanity. Enter said friends, kiss sanity goodbye.
The first memory that comes to mind for me is that one track meet in high school where a girl I was running against literally fell down- face plant into the ground- and still managed to get up and finish the race before me. Proud moment right there. In the retelling of the story, naturally my friends note how she flat-lined and the EMTs had to revive her over the course of several tense minutes until finally she regained a pulse, wearily got back up on her feet and stumbled toward the finish line while the crowd started a slow-clap from the bleachers… still beating me across the line, of course.
Yet, in the moment, that one wasn’t so bad. I was by far more confident in high school and had only been convinced to do track by some of my friends (we were losers, so this is the only type of peer pressure I encountered). I was not delusional, I knew I couldn’t run.
However, today a friend brought up a memory I had managed to forget for at least a few years. And I have officially dubbed it: Most Painful Memory. Also: Most Hilarious. Are you on the edge of your seats yet?
In middle school I played field hockey and, though I was no star, I promise you I wasn’t as dreadful at it as I was at track. So, because it’s middle school and we grew up with the late-90s mentality that EVERYONE is a winner, at the end of each sports season there was a pathetic little sports “banquet” in the cafeteria. And every single goddamn person who was on a sports team got an award. This particular season I had convinced my best friend to play mostly because all the cool girls played fall sports and, though they were cordial enough, I wanted someone to talk to. Naturally my best friend decides to skip the “banquet” because she’s being an anti-social-angsty-loser and naturally my parents make me go because, ‘team spirit!’ and all that.
So our coach is going through all the awards and I’m sitting there rolling my eyes because I’m in middle school and unimpressed with everything and, seriously, everyone gets an award. I also know that my award is probably going to be something stupid because, again, I’m no star player. If I were to give myself an award it would be “Plays Okay” or “Doesn’t Suck” (my track award would definitely have been: “At Least She Finished…?”), so I am little curious as to how creative my coach got with it.
Just as my eyes are starting to thoroughly glaze over in boredom, she starts talking about two girls who supported each other all through the season, blah blah blah, always there for one another, blah blah, dramatic gestures of friendship.
“Oh shit no!” I think as I snap out of my daze and frantically try to recount all the awards given before this moment. I look around at the other best friend duos on the team and most of them are holding their damn pieces of paper already. In a last ditch effort, I look down at the table and figure if I don’t make eye contact she can’t possibly call my name. That’s obviously how it works!
And then she announces it.
Yes… I have to walk up on stage and accept the “Best Friends” award… BY MYSELF. The bullshit award that has nothing to do with athletics at all, but is all, ‘Hey at least you have a friend!’ Only wait, no I don’t.
And, of course, sitting in the front row is the boys soccer team, and ohmagod all the hottest guys are like totally on the boys soccer team. As I quickly swipe the award from my coach and try to convince myself ‘No one can possibly still be listening, right? Right?!’ I hear one of the guys ask his friend, dead serious, “Is she best friends with herself?”
I swear the question hangs in the air for a good five minutes before it turns into a little bird that flies up to the stage and shits all over me.
Now as painful as that was in the moment, the instant my friend reminded me I burst out laughing. The fact that to the dumb middle school crowd it looked like I won the “Best Friends” award by myself? I can’t. That’s too hilarious for me to process. I told my friend she was an ass and then we spent the next ten minutes rehashing it over and over.
So fess up, what’s your most painfully hilarious moment? It’s seriously so therapeutic to laugh at it after all these years.