Our Jason Gosz Scholarship Winner for 2020 is Antoni Haupt from Wayzata High School in Plymouth Minnesota. She is 5’11” tall and will be majoring in Mechanical Engineering at UW Milwaukee while on the swim team there. Though our local scholarship no longer has funding, we have submitted Antoni as our entree for Tall Clubs International and Tall Clubs International Foundation Kae Sumner Einfeldt, Virginia Linquist Winker and Robert Rader Academic Scholarships. Her essay follows:
What Being Tall Means To Me
I’ve always been tall for my age and have been in the 95th percentile or higher at every
doctor’s appointment I’ve been to since I was born. I never really thought much about it until I got to high school when all of a sudden some (not a lot, but some) of the boys were taller than me. I was in shock! I had towered over them for years and now a few of them towered over me. I had never felt so short. I felt tall again soon enough when the girls and guys swim teams broke apart for the high school season and I was the second tallest again (it’s swimming, there are some tall people in that sport). I got used to this again until the boys were done with their season and back in the pool with us, and I was short again. Every year this still shocks me.
I have always liked being tall. Being able to reach things that others can’t is something I
always enjoy, especially when they aren’t even close to reaching it and I can with no effort.
When I was younger I got to go on all the ‘big kid rides’ at Valleyfair (an amusement park close to my house) way before all of my friends got to. I have younger cousins that always ask for a ride on my shoulders because they get to see the world (or my grandma’s living room) from a different perspective.
Being tall gives me an athletic edge at swimming because I can get to the wall that much quicker. More than once I have been able to out reach someone at the end of a race. And when I dive in I am already ahead (or at least not as far behind, I have a bad start) as I would be if I was shorter. It does make breast stroke a little harder though because it takes more effort to whip my legs around.
Being tall does make alpine ski racing (my other sport) a little bit more difficult because it’s hard to get around the gates because my legs are so long. But I still love it, I even wore a giraffe costume skiing. (My neck is too long for the hood to go up.)
Being tall has also made me appreciate the little things like long enough sleeves, leg
room, and blankets long enough to reach my feet. I still get excited every time I find pants that cover my ankles and fit me in the waist. Or a shower head that I don’t have to bend down to use. My dad installs our showerheads higher than where most people install them.
There are some disadvantages to being tall as well – always being in the back row for any
group picture, choir concert, or dance recital, not having enough leg room on airplanes, and finding a cute pair of pants or shorts and they are just too short to actually wear.
Surprisingly, no one has ever asked me if I play basketball or volleyball, or the classic “how’s the weather up there?”
If I could change my height, I would actually add an inch so I could finally say that I am
6 feet tall. Or 5’12”!