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.
Northwest Classen graduate Brianna Bighorse just completed Marine Boot Camp.