Fat to Phat

Would you ever believe that a fat, small pudgy kid would be captain of the football team? Believe it or not Jason who is the captain of the football team was that fat pudgy kid. At the age of 13, Jason weighed 215 pounds. "Being fat comes with the consequences," said Jason. "I got made fun of every day for my weight."

Jason in elementary school had little to no friends. Jason used to go to school fearing he would be made fun of. "During lunch, I would sit by myself," stated Jason. "Jason would usually keep to his self," said Eric Rimsky who was a peer of Jason. A few of Jason’s friends gave him the nickname "The Wopper," which is still his nickname today.

After school Jason participated in PYA (town sports league) football program. On the football field Jason was never the go to guy, he was just another scrubby player. "They would never throw me the ball," Jay said. Jason’s dream in his younger years was to become captain of the football team one day. When he would tell people this they would just laugh at him and say that there is no way that this will ever happen. Wow, would they be wrong!

When Jason reached High School he got fed up with being the fat kid and he decided to change the way he lives. Jason said, "instead of eating Burger King, I would make myself a salad." Jason soon started to attend the local gym, where he worked out and bulked up for the upcoming football season. Jason would go to school for six hours, then after school he go to the gym for three hours and then he would go home and do his homework for a few hours. At night Jason would work on his agility and hands in his backyard. Jason would ask his Dad to help him, his friends, and sometimes he would just do it by himself. "In my freshman year, I worked harder than I have ever worked in my life," Jay stated. "I didn’t have time for my friends, family or my work, all I would do was focus on myself," he said.

Jason Played JV football for two years and every year he worked harder than the next one. With all the running and hitting it would never cross his mind to just stop and quit. Jason loved the game and everything about it. The coaches told him to keep working on it and he will get better. "My first two years of high school football were tough," said Jay. "Jason has become a great football player," stated Chuck Silverstein who is on the football team with him. After a few years of serious conditioning, and watching what he ate, Jason felt himself thinner, stronger and being made less fun of.

In Jason’s senior year he went into football tryouts not knowing what to expect. He felt that he has worked so hard to make captain but he didn’t know if all his hard work would pay off. "I was nervous, I worked so hard and I wanted it all to pay off," Jay said. After two weeks of hard practice, the coach announced that Jason is one of the captains of the varsity team. "I was happy for Jason he, really worked hard to get the position," stated Jason Silver who is the kicker for the varsity team. Jason along with four other captains are going to be the ones that will lead the Port Vikings this year. "I choose Jason because he really worked hard and he deserved the spot over any one else on the team," said coach Case. Jason’s motivation really paid off. When people would tell him that it couldn’t be done, he wouldn’t listen to them. Jason believed in himself and that is why he is where he is today.

Also is his senior year Jason met a young girl named Katherine who he really liked and whom he felt really close with. Jason’s whole life he never really had a serious girlfriend or even a girl that the really cared about. But he really felt attached to Katherine. "Words can’t describe the way I feel about her. "Jay really worked hard on reaching his goal and he got it, his motivation is something that I admire," stated Katherine. He found something that made him happy and he did what ever he could to reach his goal. "He did what he really wanted to do and IM really proud of his accomplishments," said his Mother.

The main thing that is really special about Jason is his character today. When he sees an obstacle that can’t be done he will make it be done. Jason will go to extremes with his motivation and change around what ever he wants. The motivation that Jason Sussman has is something that should be in every human being.


 In The Blink Of An Eye

By Jason

Huge, obese, fat, and hefty were some adjectives used to describe Chuck Silverstein two years ago. But after Chuck moved from Queens to Port Washington, and found his passion, his whole life took a drastic turn.

When Chuck was fifteen, he moved from Richmond Hills Queens to a small suburban town on Long Island called Port Washington. Coming from a bad area full of violence and strong gang activity, Chuck was forced to keep himself “Big” in order to be able to protect himself. “ I watched fights everyday. Blood was a common sight to see,” Chuck said. Unhappy with himself and his environment, Chuck and his mom decided to move to Port.

“The minute I stepped foot in this town, I knew my life was going to change,” he said and that it did. One of the first things Chuck and his mother did when they arrived in Port was go register at Paul D. Schreiber High School, a public school just near by. When Chuck and his mother drove up the road leading to the school, they saw the Vikings football team in the midst of their preseason morning practice. As the quarterback launched the ball through the air to an open receiver, Chuck’s eyes lit up as he realized he had finally found his passion.

One week into preseason, Chuck arrived at football practice overweight and out of shape, however, he was happily welcomed to the team. Excited to start a new path for himself, Chuck gave football his all, not quitting until he passed out. “He was the most dedicated player I knew,” Jason Silver a member of the team said. Chuck having no football experience at all, wasn’t the best player, but was determined to learn and grow as an athlete. He would spend every Sunday at home in front of the T.V. watching the NFL. He would study how they played the game, and would particularly watch his position as an offensive guard.

In addition to watching football on T.V., Chuck joined a gym about ten minutes from his house. When not playing football, he spent hours at the gym just running, dropping pound after pound. He lifted weights, turning his fat into muscle, and worked on his legs, increasing his power and agility.

As the season progressed, Chuck became better and better. He had his position down to an art. Chuck, unlike some players on the team, loved every second he spent on that football field. He lived and breathed football until the three-month season was finally over. With Chuck’s help, the team ended five and three, just barely missing the playoffs.

During the off-season, Chuck worked harder than ever. Everyday after school, he would hit the gym and run. At the same time, he continued to lift weights and build muscle mass in order to make him an even better football player than he had been the previous season. Chuck is in his senior year now at Schreiber High School, and what he has accomplished is amazing. “I’m so proud of him,” the Vikings coach said. “I’ve never had a more dedicated player on my team in thirty years of coaching.” Chuck now weighs 220 pounds, down from a whopping 300 pounds when he began. The muscle mass he has built is commendable, and often times, hard to believe when you have seen what he started at. He is the captain of the football team, and hopes to lead them to their first championship in twenty years. Chuck is now friends with all his fellow players, and shows them a lot about life and dedication to something you love. Chuck, expected to be an all county lineman and play for Hofstra University, still spends most of his time at the gym, working on, hopefully, one day achieving perfection.

In the blink of an eye, Chuck turned his whole life around. He found something he loved, and pursued it until he accomplished what he wanted. His attitude towards life, and football, is a great example for everyone. Chuck’s situation just goes to prove that if you put your mind to it, anything is possible. See you in the playoffs, Chuck!

I am Zach, Hear Me Roar

By Charlotte

 Zach is not your average eighteen year old. The son of a Christian Episcopal pastor, he has moved five times. He has twin brothers, now 24. He is a passionate writer, a fan of fantasy and science fiction books, and an Anime enthusiast. He has even formed his own "Cosplay," or "Costume Players" group called Guardians of the Clow. Animated, individualistic, and down to earth, Zach marches to the beat of his own drummer.

When Zach moved to Port Washington three years ago, it was just another town in a long series of moves. Born in Connecticut in 1984, Zach soon moved to Pennsylvania, then to Colorado when he was three, West Virginia when he was four, and to Malverne, New York when he was 8. In 1999 Zach moved to Port Washington where he has lived ever since. Zach attended LuHi Academy for two and a half years and is now a junior at Schreiber High School. It seems like he is there to stay until he graduates in a little over a year.

The hardest part about moving, Zach says, has been making new friends. One Schreiber friend, Robin, says, "People misunderstand him a lot…I think he's just a really nice, energetic guy." Zach feels that experiencing different kinds of lifestyles has been a great opportunity and he is proud of the friends he has made across the country. Zach also feels a personal connection to the places he has lived. Furthermore, if Zach had not moved from Colorado, his twin brothers would have been at Columbine High School during the 1999 massacre. Zach feels that moving "is the way God saved [his] family." Additionally, he "feel[s] for everyone that lost a loved one on that day."

Whether because of his frequent moves or his parents' firm religious beliefs, Zach is close to his family and is a self prescribed good kid. Zach recalls a time in elementary school when his father had to pay him five dollars to get in trouble and have his name written on the black board. "I never did it," Zach says. "I wanted to be the good son."

Today Zach's way of rebelling is watching TV, which his parents think, and Zach confirms, prevents him from studying. "I love watching TV," he says, "but my parents hate it." Nevertheless, Zach is a TV addict, listing eleven TV shows as his very favorite, with Buffy, 7th Heaven, Gilmore Girls, and Smallville at the top of his list. Charmed, Zach says, is his all time favorite TV show: "I don't like witchcraft – just the idea of girls with magical powers." As long as Zach does not obsess about his love for fantasy, his parents don't have a problem with his interest. Zach decides, "They don't care – for now they just wonder when I'm going to become an adult."

When not watching TV, Zach is role-playing online. "I love to act," Zach enthusiastically reports. He is in Schreiber's drama club and founded his Cosplay group last February. He is also passionate about Broadway and theater productions. His favorite play is Blast, which he saw with his father right after September 11th in order to support the theater district. The first play Zach remembers seeing was Beauty and the Beast; he has seen Les Miserable five times. Along with these interests, Zach has found the perfect job: working at a local movie theater. His favorite movie last year was "Lord of the Rings."

Zach also loves to write and hopes to do so professionally some day, either for a newspaper or as the author of science fiction or fantasy novels. When asked about his favorite book, Zach takes a deep breath and thinks for a good twenty-seconds. He tentatively decides on Harry Potter, which he has read "twenty times, give or take" and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, but he says that there are "way too many" books to choose from. One of the defining experiences in Zach's life was walking into his first grade class and being able to read before anyone else. "I'm a reader, hear me roar," Zach says, almost inaudibly, to himself.

One of the unique struggles Zach has had to face is trying to balance his parents' religious beliefs with being a teenager. Zach's says that his Dad's job has created some issues. He explains that one of his biggest difficulties is having friends that are Jewish or Catholic because his parents believe they are sinful. It is also difficult for Zach to do things, such as see movies, that contradict the word of the Bible. The philosophy "Everyone else is doing it" does not work in Zach's household. "It's hard," Zach says, sounding slightly frustrated. "You want to be with your friends and not reading all the time."

Compared to most eighteen year olds, Zach seems more compassionate and in touch with his personal philosophies and beliefs. Zach loves to work with children. He teaches Sunday school to a six-year-old and a two-year-old during his father's sermon. He tutors and baby-sits for his neighbor three times a week after school. Zach is sure he wants to have children, although he firmly believes in remaining abstinent until after he is married.

Zach is also firm in his belief that abortion is wrong because "women…shouldn't do that to themselves." He further comments that, "God created people…people shouldn't decide who lives or dies." On that line, Zach is scared of war, especially after September 11th. "I'm only eighteen and here comes the next world war," he says. He explains that he is not ready to be enlisted and he does not want to die: "I have dreams that I want fulfilled…war would stop those dreams from coming true."

Zach certainly has dreams: it seems as though he has his whole life planned out. This summer, Zach will be going to Baltimore with his Cosplay group for an Anime convention. He also plans to do something with a Christian teen group in Atlanta, Georgia, and to visit colleges across the country.

In terms of college, Zach has "no idea where [he's] going." He jokes, "Anything but Nassau Community." Zach would like to attend a state school in New York or Nebraska. Right now his top choice is the University of Nebraska at Omaha because his best friend and role model, also named Zach goes there. The two met over the Internet three years ago. Zach says, "He's the easiest guy to talk to. He listens to me and helps me with what I need help with." Although the two have never met, Zach hopes to if he goes to UNO. Otherwise he would like to on his 21st birthday.

Zach would like to major in English or Communications. He likes "relating to people" and dreams of being a radio disc jockey. Thinking about his future, Zach becomes animated and excited: "Maybe I should just take a year off before college and just backpack across Europe," he says enthusiastically.

Whatever Zach does in the future, his drummer, with a unique beat, will help him continue to travel down that road less traveled. He is sure to meet obstacles and opponents along the way, but he will be accompanied by his family, his strong beliefs, writers, actors, and Anime fans alike. As a person who considers himself fun to be around, he'll be sure to make friends, especially with such a variety of unique interests. Why wouldn't he? "Hey, it's me!" he says spiritedly.