Four weeks ago I started teaching workshops by myself for the first time. I checked that I had all of my materials twenty-seven times before leaving the office. I have heard Rachel and Simone teach this material so many times that I have their jokes memorized. I felt ready, confidant, excited.

At GLI we start every workshop with Che Che. Che Che is a call and response activity with sound and movement that gets everyone moving, having fun, looking and acting silly. The goal is to stop thinking, to turn off your brain and let your body make the first sound and movement you can think of, no self judgment, no self doubt.

Bowdoin College vs. University of Southern Maine, at Southern Maine. NCAA Elite eight game, winner goes to the Final Four. Close game. Huge crowd. Bowdoin fans covered in black and white face paint wearing old Bowdoin jerseys from the early 90’s. It was the spring of my Jr year. We had lost two games that season. This was our year to go to the final four.

Two weeks before, we played Bates College for the league championship. We were down by at least 15 at half time, if not more. We couldn’t have played any worse at that point, there was nothing to loose. One of our seniors, and the best defense player in the country, took a 15 ft jump shot to start the second half. This was a girl who hadn’t taken an outside shot in a game during the three years I had played with her. It went in. It got the fans going and that was it. She took the risk. We were going to win. I felt it. Poised and confident, I proceeded to have the best half of my college basketball career. We won.

It started on the giant’s ladder. It started at the ropes course on the peer leadership retreat senior year of high school. Rosa and I literally pulled each other up every rung and we were the only group to make it to the very top. It actually didn’t really start there, but both of us will tell the story of the ladder as the day we became friends. It really started one day in October, a month after the retreat. After school we decided to take a walk through Prospect Park and proceeded to tell each other our life story. We had both been badly hurt the previous year by nasty friendships, and that day we decided to be the one friend in each other’s life that would never do anything like “that” again. We made a pact.