Personal Narrative

By Courtney Johnson

I remember when we beat Oakridge by 20 points on that cold, foggy night. The feeling was so outrageous that all we could do was jump and down with praise for how well we played. Coach Tatsch even said that we played well and deserved to win that game, considering Oakridge is one of our rivals. As soon as we sat down, she started pouring out stats, who played an excellent game, and deserved to receive high fives for the miraculous effort put forth. Once we could no longer scream without sounding like an old lady, that’s when coach revealed the shocking news. Brittany Simpson had died in a car accident that morning.

I was so glad to get a glimpse of Brittany Simpson’s face and see her smile at me for that little moment in the gym while we were going over plays for our game against Oakridge the next day. We were going over a press break when she walked in, all decked out in her Duke Blue Devil apparel. She looked like a 5’4 blonde smurf, dressed in blue and white from head to toe. Seeing her like that took me back to when I first met her. Brittany came into my life 3 years ago in a stuffy, old Washington Junior High gym. She was wearing a white Duke t-shirt with blue shorts. We were both at a shooting lesson trying to better ourselves at the game we both loved with a passion. At first we were just acquaintances but ended up developing a relationship on a higher level than most people that are juniors in high school. See, Brittany was a junior when I met her playing for the Woodlands High School; I was an 8th grader playing for the Lady Lions at Branch Crossing Junior High. I wanted to see what a real high school game would look like, so I went to see a few of her games at the Woodlands. Seeing her play made me realize how much we had in common. Brittany had a passion for life and loved doing things every minute of everyday. We had always had fun hanging out in my room watching many movies, listening to music, going camping and riding jet ski’s, singing and dancing at Sonic, and my favorite, going to IHOP on my birthday at 7:00 in the morning. I never realized how much she impacted my life till I found out the terrible news, that still today, has made a major impact in my life.

Brittany came in to see Jo, one of her best friends, on a Monday afternoon and planned on leaving the next day to go back to college for practice. She played for the Austin College Kangaroos. During season, before every game we have pasta parties, which is when Brittany came to say goodbye before embarking on her 3 hour journey back to Sherman the very next day. Two hours into the long ride on that Tuesday morning, she lost control of the vehicle and crossed the interstate 45 median, where her car collided with a southbound vehicle. The Department of Public Safety said the impact hit her door killing her instantly, but leaving the 5 people in the southbound car with only cuts and bruises. This angered me because I didn’t think it was fair she died, and they didn’t. No one should have, but the fact that she was such an awesome person struck me and filled me with hatred. When I received the news, I was devastated and couldn’t stop crying all night; eventually crying myself to sleep. I felt an awful feeling in the pit of my stomach and felt so lost after that horrifying night. I haven’t felt the same in basketball and in general just feel like nothing is in the right place. She made such an impact on my life that I didn’t think it was possible to live without her. Brittany had a spark of life to her that I wish I had. She loved to help people and be around little kids, something I loved but didn’t come to love as much as she did till recently. She wasn’t someone who was going to sit around like a couch potato, and let other people do things for her. Brittany was a leader not a follower and loved going to church. She has inspired me to be more involved with my church and get up and go do things that I love without having to be told to go do it. She has also inspired me to be more confident in my game and not worry about the little things in life, like if I get a bad grade in English, only that I need to work harder next time and get a better grade; never stop giving up and never stop believing. When I met her, I was a very shy person. She brought out the life in me, I felt whole when she was around. I could act different and be weird and she wouldn’t care. Brittany would just laugh and be weird with me. She made my life more interesting, something I had been longing for a long time.

Later that weekend, was the viewing and the funeral. I was terrified to go; I didn’t want to believe that it was true because I just saw her the other day. Relying on the help of my friends, they convinced me to go so I could have some closure and not say goodbye, but I’ll be seeing you. As I walked into that gloomy room with Rascal Flatts, one of her favorite artists playing, I went up to see her once more. I saw her and cried my eyes out knowing she was in a better place but also the fact that she left so many behind that cared and loved her. Thankfully, my friends have been here to help me through everything. That very next day, a Sunday afternoon, the funeral was being held at Fellowship of the Woodlands. Getting up that morning scared me because I couldn’t bear the fact that she would be buried and never seen again. Many people she changed the lives of were there; maybe 500+ people were there to celebrate her life and that she is in a better place. One of the things that I loved about Brittany was that she never settled for 2nd, she always wanted to be 1st. So, Brittany was 1st once more. She had beaten us to the place we all dream we will see one day.

I still feel that awful feeling in my stomach when I see her picture or think about where she is and what she is doing. Maybe that was a way for her to say goodbye, coming to see us on that Monday before we played Oakridge. Even though the last 3 games I have been playing have been tough and emotional, she is still there to guide me in the right direction. She is my strength and is loved by everyone who knew her. I miss her and love her with all my heart. Never to be replaced or forgotten.