November 23, 2010
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I’m a loser. I won’t lie. I can only do one thing in life, and that’s write songs. I was singing a great one right now as I walked past the gloomy lockers of my dim public high school. I’m a freshman here right now, and my grades barely ever get past a C. I’m not smart, not athletic, not artsy, but when I want it to, bam, my brain can think. When I fly, I see myself, caught behind somebody else. Now I was signing my new best song, entitled “Flying.” But anyway, I’m who the bullies’ pick on. I’m not strong, with no social standing and as a result, I have very low self-esteem. But it didn’t matter right now, because I was on top of the world.

I’m so cool, I go to school, just can’t hang out at the pool. This was another song of mine called “Climb the Ladder.” It was playing so loud in my head that I couldn’t hear the teacher saying, “Mr. Banes, would you care to enlighten us on what y equals in this problem.”

Uh-oh, I hadn’t been listening at all, so I went with my best tactic, “I didn’t quite understand the question, Ms. Adams, could you please repeat it?”

This time however, it didn’t work. “Mr. Banes, I saw your lips moving, were you whispering to someone? Or perhaps signing the lyrics to the latest pop song.”

The room exploded with laughter. Ms. Adams was a class favorite. Just not with me. Here goes nothing, I thought. “Well, I write some songs,” I said modestly. This drew more laughter so I coughed out, “would you like me to perform one?”

“Oh yes, please do,” the class said in a tone I interpreted as mocking.

Well this did it. I knew that I could become a singer, right then, right there, so in a mix of songs I sang, “One day I’ll be singing my song, working on my homework, watching my T.V. One day I’ll a sing this song, singing all this until I’m gone. Until I meet me. Then I’ll walk up the street just singing my song, kind of goes like this, it will till I’m gone.” They looked interested so I gave them a little “Climb The Ladder.” “When I climb, I see myself, caught behind somebody else. I’m so cool, I go to school, just can’t hang out at the pool. Can’t fit in, don’t even try, my friends together make me cry.” Now I had so much attention that I sang the last line with a lot of emotion. “I breathe life in, I let it go.”

“Oh my gosh,” said the class.

“Thank you,” I said modestly, and tried to explain that this was my first time singing not in the shower, but they cut me off.

“That was terrible.”

I was speechless. I had put myself out there, and I was turned down. I gave a pleading look at Ms. Adams, until I realized she was suppressing a giggle. Horror shocked, I screeched, “darn it,” and sprinted, crying, out of the icy cold classroom, past the dark gloomy lockers and outside, into the rainy winter morning that is Seattle, Washington. Five blocks down, I passed Qwest Field, where my heroes were made. I walked another four blocks to my home where I opened the door slowly. Walking up to my room a song started playing in my head again. This one went like this: When I sing, people laugh, so I cry. When I sing, I feel safe, until I die. Well, I thought, not my best, but maybe I’ll think of better ones later.

The next day in school in Ms. Adams’ class, some girls confronted me. “Wow,” they giggled, “you’re so good you should be signing the national anthem at a Seahawks game.” I gave no reply. Even though this hurt, it gave me another dream. It was just what they had said.

My singing lesson was set for Thursday, the 8th of July. This was quite a bit after school had ended, but that dream those giggling girls had given me was still fresh in my mind. I walked into the bright room, with chirping birds and colorful suns painted along the walls and ceiling. This was such a contrast from school that it almost knocked me over. “Hello Alex,” the teacher said, calling me by my first name, “Welcome to my studio.”

“Hello.” I barely managed to scrape out, for I really wanted her to like my singing voice. Truth was, I had been practicing the national anthem every day since school got out, and I was excited to hear what she thought.

“My name is Teresa Morgan.” She went on to meet my mother and discuss the time that I was going to be picked up. Then my mother left, and I was all alone in the cheery room with my new singing teacher. “Well then, Alex”, she said happily, “lets start with some scales. She told me what to sing, and I gave it a go.

“La, la, la, la, la,” I sang, with my voice getting higher each time. She didn’t look impressed, so I started to look down at my black loafers.

However she surprised me when she chuckled, “that’s about the best I’ve ever seen a high school student sing. They’re not so good the first time.”

I tried to say modestly, “really?” and then I said that I sing a lot, but only in the shower.

“Well you do have a lot of potential,” she said, and I thought rightfully so.

“Thank you.”

After that, we went over some songs, and I surprised her by knowing most of the words to them. I was always a little like that. Then feeling safe in her bright, warm, and cheery studio, I told her about my dream, the dream of me singing in front of a packed Qwest Field. She told me that I would have to work hard if I wanted to achieve this. I told her I could.

I sung in my room, over and over and over, the words to the anthem. There were many lessons a week in the summer. And then, when Teresa thought that the time had come, we submitted an application.

When I got a letter back from the team, it was a good day. It was from the general manager, with the logo on the envelope and the letter. I though this was very cool. Nervously, I viciously tore it open. Slowly, I read. They said that they usually don’t let 15 year olds sing in front of 67,000, but that I seemed committed enough. They thought I would be up to the challenge. YES!

I quickly called Teresa to tell her the news. They wanted me at the stadium Saturday, September 11, 2010 for an audition. The opening game of the season was the very next day! They just wanted to hear me sing and I would have the job.

September 11th came all too quick for me. I was very nervous when I made my to the entrance. I had never been there before, even though I lived only four blocks away. Too expensive, my dad had always said. I was actually there. The morning went like a blur. I met the lady who talked me through what I would do, and then, the time I had been waiting for, she led me out onto the field. “Okay,” she said, “show me what you have.”

With no hesitation I sang, O say can you see, by the dawns early light, What so proudly we hailed at the twilights last gleaming?… Last time I saw somebody speechless, it was bad. And she was speechless now, but with a smile on her face. “You have the job,” she chuckled while smiling. “Amazing.”

“YES!” I screamed so loud you could have heard me in Tacoma. She laughed, but it was happy and I knew she was excited for me.

I didn’t get much sleep that night, as the realization hit me that this was for real. I got four seats to the game. My Mom, Dad, and me, and I invited Teresa. She was so happy for me!

1:00, Sunday. Afternoon games were about ready to kick off as I walked onto the field. They introduced me, which was a blur, and then I broke out in song. Confidently, I sang a day-late celebration to the people killed on 9-11: O say can you see, by the dawns early light… The crowd roared at the traditional point in the song, and then it kicked in that I had really done it. Security congratulated me on a great job and took me up to the box where I got to sit. The whole game went fast, and even though my hometown heroes lost, it was the best day of my life.

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