After we spent time with 2nd grader Trystan Wilkerson, we realized what it means to be your authentic self. Trystan is preparing for the exciting life ahead of him, where he may become a football coach. However, for the time being, he's playing football at home and demonstrating that being true to your interests and having a fun-loving nature increases your visibility as a good influence.
Important for a future coach, sure, but Trystan also taught us a few things in general and about himself that reassure us that being yourself is the best way to go about it. We learned…
Cheeseburger pizza rocks. As long as bacon is involved. Trystan is all hands on deck when this meal choice is available. Now that we think of it, Trystan reminds us of a cheeseburger pizza: it does its own thing but also has a logic; there are still the foundations of sauce and cheese. He fills his days with art, playing video games on Switch, and practicing his swing. His distinctive twenty-inch purple and black BMX bicycle speaks volumes about the degree of personality Trystan harbors.
He's a good student and friend. We know because we ask, point blank: Are you a good student? “I am, I am,” he exclaims. He swears by his flawless academic record. When his special period is art class, he’s in his element. PE class is also an event, and he’s regularly pumped to hit the gym floor and sharpen his athletic timing. In fact, he’s such a good student that when he recently missed half a day, he was upset because he wasn’t in school.
Trystan also has a reputation as an amazing friend. He’s very generous with his time to battle his buddies in Fortnite, which he claims to be pretty good at. Similar to how he learns from catching and hitting for baseball, he’s training his reflexes to become a responsive player in all games, ready to hit the target at the opportune moment.
His imagination is on a different level. He’s not afraid of anything (in existence), but the prospect of meeting a Titanoboa terrifies him. Though he likes pythons, he would prefer not to dance with the long extinct, 47-foot, 2500-pound boa that slithered in company of the dinosaurs. It seems he has a morbid curiosity about the creature, so we imagine he wouldn’t mind checking it out and taking notes from a safe distance. It’d make an excellent study for his sketchbook in art class. There’s a scenario that Trystan has illustrated in his head where he meets a younger version of himself and gives him a report from the future: “I would say, ‘Hey, in the future you’re going to be real smart.’ Then I bet, oh my gosh, my kindergarten self’s brain would explode, and like a bigger brain comes back.” What a foolproof system for powering up your intelligence: first, you tell your past self you’re going to be a genius, then when your past self is mind-blowingly overwhelmed, a more capable brain appears in its place, fulfilling your prophecy. When we said we learned cutting-edge things from this kid, we weren’t kidding.
He would use a magic wand to summon (exactly) 3,000 magic wands. The reason for that many wands is that there are quite a few game consoles left to collect. He explains that he’d grab one, conjure up a PlayStation 5, then toss the defective, low-reward wands into a different pile. He’d go through the wands one by one, wishing for the latest Xbox console and on and on until he owned “every single game in the world” (we dare say this is mad scientist talk). After achieving that ultimate goal of a comprehensive console gaming library, he’d gladly offer whatever’s left to charity.
We’re confident that’s not all to Trystan, but we’d like to think it paints a pretty good portrait for now. Whether he goes into coaching or pursues an art career, he’ll be restoring the faith of those he leads and touching up the ways he travels forward as needed. The Titanoboa may have been enormous in physical size, but it can’t hold a candle to the vividness of this 2nd grader’s personality.