Today is June 11th, 2020. On June 11th, 2010 I graduated from a public high school in the United States of America. Because I graduated high school, I have ELITE subtraction skills. So that's exactly ten years ago, TODAY. As a history major (in college), I learned that a 10 year span is commonly referred to as a decade. Ipso facto; I'm a decade out of high school. That's a decade out in the "real world" (although I consider it closer to half of that since I graduated college in 2015 and I went to school like 15 minutes away from my then home). Being 10 years out of high school is a strange feeling that I am going to try to express here via the written word.
Before I fully turn onto Nostalgia Lane, we should get a little serious. I make light of death and other serious topics for a lot of reasons, but mainly to take away the power they have over my consciousness (it DOES NOT work that effectively), but surviving these 10 years is an accomplishment in itself. We're still alive. There was a lot of times I didn't think I would be. With all we've been learning (or may have already known) about privilege lately, we should not take that for granted. Unfortunately, two people I went to high school with are no longer with us.
R.I.P. Austin and Alex.
I've tried to stay somewhat anonymous on DOL, but the fact of the matter is the majority of my readers know exactly who I am and where I'm from (I'm still going to be semi-vague for their privacy). Someday that will not be the case, but you probably know my government name and where I went to high school. I have tried to keep Ryan Last Name and Doz/Dozah/Dozo/Dozan/Dozie/Dozer (if you're a POS like my Lax Coach lolol) separate since everybody tells me I need to have a backup plan if #HireDozo is never #HiredDozo. Deep down I know it's only a matter of time until I get where I want to be, so the lines between the real me and my blogger persona have blurred as I have started to put my face out there to help grow my brand.
I LOVED being in high school, dude. In a lot of ways it shaped who I am today. Nearly all my friends that I'm still close with to this day are from high school; most from my grade. HS was some of the happiest times of my life, but I am soooooo grateful that I am not the same Dozah I was in 2006-2010.
After going to four different middle schools in four years, it was nice to settle into a community and make some real friends. Like basically everybody else who's ever lived; I just wanted to be liked and accepted for me. Sadly, I made that reality difficult for some people I went to school with because of my own ass hole actions. I want to apologize to anybody whose feelings I may have hurt in high school. I was going through a lot of emotional pain and needed to bring others down to put myself up. (I'm Robin in this situation)
It's weird. You spent nearly everyday with these all people for four years (sometimes longer depending how long you've been in the district) then it's just over. Time for the next thing. There's people I had class with everyday who I haven't seen in 10 years. That's wild to me. It's almost like a warm up for death.
As someone who's not super close with their extended family, my friends became my family. Sure we roasted each other to the point that it could ruin any of our lives, but there was also a lot of love. I still love many to this day. I don't know how to say this without sounding like a douche bag, but I was pretty popular. It didn't suck. I had a lot of friends and people who liked me (or pretended to like me). Don't get me wrong, it was a small ass school, it's not that big of a deal. I was a big fish in a bathtub. I was still fat and my-awkward-ass self, so I was the recipient of a fair share of bullying (I once got shoved into an ice cream machine so hard that it changed the language), but I had a v positive experience overall. I know not everybody is as lucky.
I took great pride in being an athlete and representing my hometown while in HS. I loved being a Mariner. I played football and watched lacrosse while rockin' a jersey and shin guards. One of my proudest memories of high school is the first time Jimbo announced me entering a varsity game for my first meaningful snaps as a sophomore. I felt like I had arrived, that it was my time. 5-8 was here. We started 0-3 my sophomore year, but won 4 straight after I entered the line-up to make Thanksgiving a defacto playoff game. We lost 35-0 lolol.
All I wanted to do in high school was win a state championship. That was my only goal that didn't involve girls. I didn't care about anything except getting to the highest level in Division III high school football and/or Division II/1B (depending on the year) in lax; to a point where I literally cried to get back on the lax team. When I graduated a ring-less failure I needed to fill that void somehow. I was angry for a years about how things played out. I was holding on to a lot of hate and resentment.
I still haven't really talked about it that much publicly, because it involves one of my best friends that I have already hurt enough with my actions, but it's an important experience in my development as a man. I was a starting offensive lineman my junior year. I played RT then moved to RG after our first game because I was more suited (fat) for the interior of the o line. Sophomore year I played a ton as the 6th lineman; we had two packages Mariner and Mariner Big where I would come in to replace a guard who would move to fullback. It became almost our base offense late in the year. So I had been playing and starting for basically two seasons. I was an important member of the team; I was a key returner in the paper going into my senior year and a key loss after I graduated. But my junior year of football is hands down my favorite part of high school; it's also the most bittersweet.
When we got to the playoffs my junior year I didn't start because an injured player came back. I was relegated to first man in and protector on the newly added FG/PAT team after our coaches realized we had a guy who can bang from 45 yards in late November..
Even though I was starting before the returning player got hurt, I was the odd man out when he returned since I had moved to guard from tackle. In the days leading up to that game I did something I have rarely done before in my life; I stood up for myself. I told our coaches they were making a mistake. That we would lose the game if I didn't play because of my friend's suspect snapping at center that had already cost us a game in the regular season. In their defense, I think I took about 300 yards off our running back's rushing total from holding penalties, but he was the dick who bullied me so I don't lose sleep over it. He called me Kevin and hit me (sometimes a backhand graze in a homo-erotic way) in the balls every day for three years.
Anyways, I told my coaches they should bench our C and move our LG to C; he came up as a C but moved to LG because our eventual running back was center at the time. (I hope I haven't lost you yet lol). While the coaches agreed I was one of the five best OL on the team, they said they just didn't feel comfortable moving someone to C for the playoffs, but to be ready to play. I was devastated. I had worked so hard and cared so much about this team and had it taken away from me when it mattered most. Winning a ring was all that mattered to me and to not have anything to do with what happened on the field fucking ruined me. I knew this was my best chance at a championship. I talked with my OL coach even more after the meeting; he could tell I was crushed and tried to cheer me up. I told him how much I wanted to win and I just felt like what they were doing was not right for the team. I still regret to this day that I didn't say anything during the game because high snaps fucked up the flow of our offense all night. I believe it's a major (but by no means the only) reason we lost that game. As much as that entire ordeal sucked in real time; it taught me a lot about life.
I tell that story because losing that game where I had almost no impact (I didn't play until late in the 4th after an injury when the game was already at hand....I was soooo mad during because I was dominating my man once I got in) on the result shaped who I became post-high school. It heavily influenced my decisions for life after graduation. I loved playing football and being in high school, so I figured I'd become a teacher in order to coach high school football and eventually win that ring that I wanted/needed so badly. I've referenced this before, but as you get older, your priorities change. There's other things I care way more about in life, but I'd be lying if I said it didn't bother me sometimes. Over time I've accepted there's a lot more important things in life than high school football.
When I graduated in 2010 I thought about retiring the whole "Dozah persona" to start fresh "I went away" to college. It was impossible. Going to college down the street from where I lived was basically extended high school. I was bitter and angry. I felt like I was going there against my will. I didn't have many options going out of high school; I had my choice of URI, RIC or CCRI since my dad was not about that out of state tuition life.
I've known since my junior year of college that I didn't want to be a teacher for the rest of my life. I got into the field for the wrong reasons. I cared way more about football and the fun parts of high school (sports, hanging out with my friends, getting rejected by every girl I had a crush on, pooling our money together to buy a 20 sack, parties, dances, lunch, secretly getting drunk at sleepovers, spirit week, art, summers off and the bell ringing at 1:52 pm). I didn't want to start over and I didn't have the blessing of my tuition donor; I felt trapped.
While I was in college, especially early in college there was this pressure to put high school in the rear view. For a few years it was almost taboo to mention high school sports or memories. It's not like we didn't do it, but idk...it felt like you would be judged for liking those awesome times in your life and reminiscing. Like you were living it the past; it wasn't cool to still care. That was yeeeaaars ago, bro.
We were supposed to "move on", but who I was in high school defined who I thought I was. I was Dozah. I really struggled with the transition. I didn't move on because I didn't know how to. I was terrified of being the guy who peaked in high school, but I was doing everything to make that a reality. I went from feeling like somebody who mattered in high school, to a nobody in college. It was not easy for me. I had hopes of becoming a campus legend who everybody knew and that totally didn't happen (although I did create URIprobs which at its peak had nearly 6,000 followers). Instead of making new friends in college and branching out, I stole my best friend/teammate's girlfriend (who I also went to high school with) when he moved away for school and totally bombed my first three semesters. Sometimes I wonder if revenge for football played a role in my actions? I honesty don't know cause I was pretty drunk but if I had to put money on it I'd say yes. Ironically, I probably did him the biggest favor in the world and the relationship fucked me up way worse, so jokes on Dozo. My resentment and anger from everything ended up costing me. I was getting C-'s in the easy gen ed, GPA boosters which made the rest of college much more challenging. It's like I was starting on 1st and 25. In retrospect, this taught me the importance of loyalty. I never want to make someone hurt like I made my brother hurt. In a lot of ways I was hurting myself more.
It's difficult to wrap my head around the fact that an entire decade has passed since Graduation. I still feel so young, but like I've accomplished nothing. Sometimes I think of myself as a failure because of my bank statement or Linkedin page. I can't believe when I was like 25 I used to be like "omg I'm so old".
I'm going to say this to everybody I went to school with; WE'RE NOT. We still have so much fucking time.
I still struggle with my self worth constantly. What if this blog doesn't get me the job I think will give me the life I was born to live? Will anybody ever love Ryan instead of Doz? Why do I constantly feel so inadequate? I feel like a failure because I haven't accomplished much professionally and have essentially no money to my name, but everything that has happened to me both during and post high school has turned me into the man I am today. A man I am proud to be. I know I was a dickhead classclown in school who used a lot of words you can't say anymore, but we were fucking kids. Sadly, kids who documented everything on the infancy of facebook. All of the joy and pain I felt in 2006-2010 and 2010 to now shaped me to who I am. Whether you liked high school or not; it shaped you too. Maybe you're nothing like the person you were, but every decision you have ever made has put you into where you currently are.
I really am trying to live without regret despite referencing a regret earlier; Maybe had I not gotten benched and we won it all I could've partied too hard and died in a car wreck? If I didn't steal my best friend's girl, maybe we wouldn't be as close as we are today? Even though I didn't get the results I wanted when I talked to the coached, at least I did it. I didn't pussy out. I fought for myself.
I'm not going to lie and say I don't care about money because I do. We all need it to survive. I'm stressing about cash as I type, but it is not what motivates me. I care about being a better person and contributing member of society. Money and jobs can come and go in the blink of an eye. The person you are shouldn't. I care far more about my own happiness, the people I love and being the best Ryan/Doz I can be. Money is a necessary evil, but we cannot let it define us. Growing up in a rich, beach town we are taught to judge people based on possessions or status. Judging could've been a core class at NHS with how much time we spent doing it. One thing I have been consciously trying to improve on is how judgmental I've been. You don't know what other's struggles are. It really is just so much better to go through life happy and with a positive attitude. In the last year I have learned the power of your mindset. We are in control of so much more than we realize. You never know how much an insignificant moment to you can matter to someone else.
As the years have blended together like random fruits I used throw in my nutribullet, I have a harder time remembering stories from high school. Sure, part of that is the reefer and suppression to deal with existence, but a lot of it is from letting stories die. From my virtual yearbook on my personal IG last night I had at least two dozen people reach out and bring up something from high school; mostly shit I forgot. Like when our librarian faked her own death.
All we have is our stories; how they get passed on generation to generation has changed, but the concept remains the same. I used to be able to tell you everything that happened in a given day, or every play in a game, but overtime those memories fade when they are not brought back to life through talking and reminiscing. Yes, there is way more to life than high school, but it's also one of the most important parts of your life and I'm not ashamed to admit that it was for me. We shouldn't be embarrassed to admit we had a lot of fun or miss it at times.
When I think about what I really miss, it's the connections and friendships. That friend group that was my family has their own families. Growing apart from people I considered family was devastating. I miss seeing the people I care about on a daily basis and being a part of each others lives. I know we all grow up and move on, but from reaching to people during Covid and the Revolution I've remembered how many people mean so much to me. I hate that I feel so alone. I hope it doesn't last forever. I want to make my fellow alums proud. I pray that I write for Barstool someday to keep our stories alive. I am a funny mother fucker with a heart of gold. I just want to make a positive impact on this planet and I truly believe my writing is that avenue. A lot of our lasting memories of each other may be who we were in high school. Personally, that worries me because my paranoid ass thinks some may still be upset for things I said or did back in the day to get a cheap laugh in class. Just know I am not the same kid I was back then.
I really hope we'll be able to have some sort of reunion this year when life gets a little more normal. There's so many people I want to see and catch up with. There is so much more to life than high school and I intend to experience more of that in the next 10 years, but it's okay to look back on the glory days to keep those stories alive; like the time I got a technical foul as the Mascot senior year. Happy Anniversary NHS Class of 2010. We're still here. I have nothing but love for you all.
All that being said. We are absolute losers for picking the FARMVILLE THEME SONG as our class song.