This past weekend, I entered another season of FIRST Robotics competitions, currently in the offseason phase. Saturday, October 13, 2007 passed by in a blur of wonder and enjoyment at the Duel on the Delaware hosted by teams 365 and 316, MOE and the LuNaTeCs. At the Duel, I was able to reunite with some old friends, make some new ones, and even meet some who I have previously only talked to from a distance. This past Saturday prompted me to write this passage and I thought that maybe I would share it with you all, just to let you know how I feel and perhaps reflect the feelings of others who are reluctant to post on such personal feelings as these. Without further stalling, I shall let my words speak for themselves:
Friendship is a magical thing, something that belongs in the books of fantastical lore, something that deserves a place in Disneyworld. Friendship is one of those perplexing concepts that surpass all but the greatest barriers. Put thousands of kilometers between two individuals? Shockingly their friendship still survives. Deny those same two individuals interaction for some time…be it days, months, even years and when they bump into each other on the street in twenty years, they shall greet each other as the siblings that they once were and continue onward with their relationship as it once stood before, not losing even a tiny bit of the intimacy they once shared.
As a child, I spent all of my vacations with the family in Israel. In this modern day society, most concrete friendships, at least at those ages are formed during the summer…children come together, cliques are formed, and those not present are left behind in the shoulder. Despite this fact, everyone manages to form some extent of friendships, whether they blossom into best friends or remain little more than acquaintances. As a child that spent his year approximately split halfway between two locales, I found myself sorely lacking in strong, deep, concrete friendships in either place.
Come sixth grade I found myself introduced to the personal computer. I immersed myself and learned; improved my understanding, and learned some more. The computer become a sort of safe haven where I didn’t need to be present in the same place the entire year in order to become a member of those cliques, or be privileged to those profound relationships. Throughout the sixth, seventh, and eighth grades I continued on this path harboring relationships both in real life and in cyberspace. And yet, it seemed that those around me always had a closer best friend, a tighter-knit network that they were privileged to be a part of.
When I entered high school I found myself in the school’s FIRST program, participating in a competition that is now familiar to us all, but at the time was quite new to me…the FIRST Robotics Competition. After some time of treading water I found myself settling into a position on the team. One afternoon, while browsing the computers in the shop, I stumbled upon a website entitled ChiefDelphi. Even at a glancing first encounter, I was able to infer the closeness of this online community and the multitude of possibilities that it provided. I registered for an account and slowly worked myself up the ladder, gradually increasing my involvement in the community; not only through posting on the forums, providing original ideas and feedback, but also by forming friendships, cemented through every way imaginable: online through instant messaging, through phone calls, through in-person meetings, and even through competitions. I realized that I had found the environment that I was yearning for…the clique that I endeavored to be part of…the multifaceted friendships that I was striving to form. I found myself part of such a close-knit network that before I could only observe from the outside.
Throughout our existence, we all have hardships, times of trouble, periods where we are feeling down. The only prescription during such times is the tender love and care of those whom you surround yourself with. While during prior years I would have had to deal with these situations by myself, or perhaps only with the aid of my blood family, I was lucky to have entered such a wonderful community just at the right time. The friendships formed here are deep-rooted, amazing, and quite magical; I would name names but the list is undoubtedly far too numerous, and I would more than likely forget to mention quite a few. But I will say this: to those who have been there for me when I needed them; that were there to lend me a shoulder to lean on; a listener for me to vent to; or just a brother or sister for me to fool around with, to act younger than our ages, and simply to have fun…you know who you are, and to you I am eternally indebted. To my dear friends, my chosen family, know that I care for you greatly and love you all incomparably. The only regret I have is that in some cases our interaction is limited to long distance means, be it the computer or the telephone. We simply cannot come together more often, and to this I can only say, why is the United States, and the World in general, just so incomprehensibly huge?
Much love, and looking forward to my next encounter with you, and you, and you and you…