Bri­anna Bighorse

The Oklahoman (Sunday) - - SPORTS -

Bri­anna Bighorse ar­rived at North­west Classen High School four years ago with what her soft­ball and soc­cer coach called a rap sheet.

Bighorse had been in trou­ble so much in mid­dle school that the list of de­ten­tions and ex­pul­sions cov­ered three full pages. Cindy Ge­orge, the soft­ball and soc­cer coach at North­west Classen, told Bighorse that she wouldn’t play if she kept act­ing the way she had.

That was all Bighorse needed to hear.

She cleaned up her act — and changed her life.

Bighorse, who grad­u­ated high school last spring, re­cently com­pleted Ma­rine boot camp. She earned the Honor Grad­u­ate award and the high shooter award for Pla­toon 4036, Os­car Com­pany, 4th Re­cruit Train­ing Bat­tal­ion. She says none of it would’ve been pos­si­ble with­out sports.

Mid­dle school … I never hung around peo­ple my age or younger. I was al­ways with the older crowd. I was fight­ing ev­ery­one. I was try­ing to

be hard. I came to high school like that. I came in as a fresh­man and (Ge­orge) told me, ‘You’re not gonna act like that if you want to play sports.’ I was like, ‘OK. Say no more.’ I was go­ing down a very wrong path. I was just search­ing for that guid­ance.

Some­thing so sim­ple can make a big dif­fer­ence.

I’ve been play­ing sports

since I was, like, 4. I love sports, so when I heard her say that … I’m go­ing to do what­ever to play. I think if I wouldn’t have par­tic­i­pated in sports or got into that or changed my ways, I don’t know where I’d be at right now. That’s why I’m so grate­ful for sports.

Right now, I’m miss­ing play­ing

sports so much. Play­ing with my team­mates, hav­ing the bonds that we all had in our locker room and even in the hall­ways, it was just that bond that we all had with each other.

Be­ing part of a team gave us a fam­ily that some us never had.

That’s why a lot of us did join. I know that that’s why they joined be­cause they don’t have that at home. When they do go home, it’s bro­ken. I don’t care if you suck, if you’re the worst per­son on the team, we’re still go­ing to treat you the same. You’re go­ing to be like my lit­tle sis­ter.

I’ve al­ways been a com­pet­i­tive per­son. I’m go­ing to fight to win. If you want to chal­lenge me … and you beat me, I’m go­ing to say, let’s go again. I

was al­ways the per­son to push my­self, to push oth­ers. Be­ing on the team at North­west taught me a lot about be­ing a leader, help­ing oth­ers suc­ceed. That helped me a lot in boot camp.

I wasn’t nec­es­sar­ily the most

phys­i­cally fit out there, but I know how things work. I was my own mo­ti­va­tor. I learned that through the sports in high school. To be your own mo­ti­va­tor. To keep go­ing. To keep oth­ers go­ing as well.

I leave Mon­day for Cal­i­for­nia for … com­bat train­ing for a month. Then in a few months, I go ... learn how to do my job. Then from there I’ll go and start things of­fi­cially with the Marines.

It’s ex­cit­ing. You’ve gotta work for ev­ery­thing you have. That still goes with me to­day. Noth­ing is given to you, and that’s why I feel like I’ve got­ten this far.

[PHOTO PRO­VIDED]

North­west Classen grad­u­ate Bri­anna Bighorse just com­pleted Ma­rine Boot Camp.

Jenni Carl­son jcarl­son@ ok­la­homan.com

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