A Solitary Walk
Windsor Mountain Essay

Empathy bigotry, and Marginalization

You Never know how your words might affect others


By Rory Kennealy


“Exclusion is a pain that no one should feel”



    Being excluded might not seem like the biggest of deals at the time, but it is. This happened to me in 5th grade, when I was excluded from various basketball games. When I was in fifth grade I would always want to play basketball with the kids who were considered the best at basketball in the grade. Most of the time they said to no to me. It might not have seemed like a big deal, but it hurt at the time. 

In 5th grade Most recesses I would go to the gym with hopes of playing a game of pickup basketball. In fifth grade, I was really starting to get into basketball, so it made sense that at recess I would try to play basketball. The kids that I wanted to play with were all really good, and they took the games seriously. That is what I wanted a game that was taken seriously with good players.

Every recess I would walk up to the game. Most times they were already playing. I would ask them “can I play with you guys.” Most times they would reply with “maybe if you find another player.” So I would wander around the gym looking for players once I found one I went back to the game and asked can we play. They would almost always respond with no. This hurt, and it made fell like I didn’t belong. All I wanted to do was play basketball, and get better at playing basketball. It would always make me think am I not good enough to play with them, or do they just not like me. This led me to just not go to the gym. I knew that the kids weren’t going to let me play with them, so I decided just to not play with them. I soon realized that this was irrational. I decided to ask one of the kids before the game if I could play, they said yes. It doesn’t matter if someone is not good, it doesn’t matter if they’re not your friend, and it doesn’t matter who they brought to play. All that matters it that they want to play with you, and you should always let them play with you.

This experience taught me to never exclude anyone from a game. No matter how good there are. It made me feel sad, and I didn’t want other kids to feel that way so now I always let kids play with me.


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Nick Brady

Most of these pieces describe the experience and more often then not what they learned from it, but I think it is pretty cool that you not only identified the roots of the situation but also created something that you can consciously do moving forward to prevent your well depicted experience from happening to other people. There was also a great use of supporting dialogue, something that not many other works have included.

Eli Zahavi

Those younger years in our lives can play a big your in shaping us. Those experiences must of been horrible. Great narrative voice. You explained the situation wonderfully, despite how hurtful it must of been. Great job!

Sean L

This experience is totally relatable because it is pretty much the same thing that I wrote about for this assignment. You have improved at basketball a lot and I’m sure you hit 3s more consistently than some of them now. Great job.

Max LG

The use of parallel structure in your head and heart really reflected your ideas and options of this experience and how it change you as a person, this was a great piece Rory.

Oliver Ali

While it might be overused, the repetition of “it didn't matter” always makes for a very impactful read, and your use of it was no exception. The sad reality is that there will always be people who exclude others. You can’t control other people’s actions, but you can control your own, and that is exactly what you did by always allowing kids to play with you. Great work Rory.

Will S.

I enjoy how relatable (unfortunately) this scenario is and you do an amazing job of illistrating how a 5th grader in this situation feels. The repetition in the head and heart really emphasized your thoughts.

Colin Soukup

I feel you, it really sucks getting excluded. And it was great that it ended on a positive note to wrap up the story well.

William O'Malley

This was very interesting to read about because I was unfortunately typically on the other end of this, and I would witness kids like you being rejected from the games with it seeming like nothing I could do about it. It is a good lesson for all of us to improve at letting kids play with us.

Yoni Ghansah

Being excluded can be rough, especially when they would accept you one game, but not another. There should have not reason you couldn’t play with the best, more so when it is quite clear nobody takes the game as seriously as them. Luckily, you found a way around it and found your way though some clever thinking. Nice Job!


This was a really powerful story. Being excelled is very hard, and its hard to stay strong. But good job finding your way, using some brains. Good Job Rory!

Ethan Rich

Great job! You explained a story of perseverance, how at first you were denied a chance to play, but you kept trying and eventually they let you play. Nice job!

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