The Nickname

By
It was a cold and dreary day in the middle of November. I was out at nearby Pirandello’s Restaurant for my 5th period lunch. I was with six of my other friends. Sitting around the wooden table, along with me were Jake, Evan, Andrew, Zach, EJ, Jesse and myself.
This seemed to be like just an ordinary lunch with small talk and pizza munching mixed in with laughs and the occasional “jinxing” going around the table. About twenty-three minutes into the lunch p eriod, another freshman made some comment over on the other side of the restaurant. I knew I was the only one who knew what he said because he happened to say my nickname which no one besides myself and him really know. Jake noticed my reaction to the comment and asked me, “What did that guy just say?” I turn to him and then to everyone else at the table and ask, “Do you guys want to hear a story about how I got my nickname?” The kids at the table responded with mixed nods so I began my story of how I got my nickname.
The freshman who was on the other side of that restaurant that day was none other than my camp friend, Ben. Ben and I have been going to camp for the past six years now so he has been familiar with my nickname for a long time. One day, we were having a swim meet for our annual Olympics competition in camp. It was the last race of the meet, the 50 meter breaststroke. I was representing my chosen country of Luxembourg. The other countries consisted of Oman, Yemen, Madagascar, Peru, Ivory Coast, Canada and Samoa. Paul, the pool director, had us all line up at the edge of the pool and explained the instructions of the race to us. As he concluded, he shouted out our starting commands, “Take your marks…GO!” The second he said, “GO!” I dove off the edge and rose to the surface making long and powerful strokes. I felt as if I couldn’t be stopped as I reached the far side of the pool and made my turn. With the finish in sight, I gave the last few meters all I had left. It turned out to be enough as I touched the finishing edge of the pool and turned around to see that the second place swimmer, Ben, had not even touched the side yet.
My bunk counselor Ryan said that he had n ever seen someone swim like that and was impressed. The head coach of my team approached me after the race and said, “Well done…shark.” I thought I had some water in my ears because he referred to me by a nickname that I have never even heard of before. As I exited the pool, I was bombarded with compliments from my teammates like, “Way to go shark” and “Dude, you looked like a shark out there.” Fortunately, this was a nickname that I could tolerate unlike some other ones I have been called over the years.
After the story I said, “So that’s how I got my nickname.” There were blank faces across the table and a certain feeling of embarrassment came about me, until Jake said, “Guys, you might not believe this, but I have a nickname too.” Everyone at the table cheered, “TELL US THE STORY, TELL US THE STORY.” So Jake and soon everyone else at the table told us the stories of their nicknames and how they got them. After the stories had concluded, we cleaned up and left the restaurant. W alking back to school for sixth period, we all knew that this was definitely not an ordinary lunch period.





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