I was an athlete (cross country, basketball, track) and even had a school record in track. I was in something like 21 different activities over the course of my four years, so I was highly involved. I got high grades and was in the top five in my class.
On the other hand, I was bullied by a number of kids who took exception to my being a "brain," and there were those who took exception to my religious beliefs. They knew I would not fight back but would instead "turn the other cheek." A bully who knows his victim won't fight back is unafraid to bully. There was one particular student who, every time we passed one another in the hallway, would punch me in the stomach as he went by. I would tighten my stomach muscles and continue on my way after the punch was delivered. This continued until part way through senior year, when I finally felt free to punch back. I still remember telling the kid, "_____, this is the last time you get to punch me for free. Don't ever do it again. I mean it. You'll regret it if you do." Then I walked past him as he jeered at me, "Ooooooh! I'm so scared!" The next day, I was headed up the steps, ready to make a left turn at the landing, and continue up to the top of the stairs. _____ was coming down the steps, and I saw him and got ready. As he and I passed on the landing, I saw him prepare the punch. I dropped my books, grabbed him by the wrist as he punched at my stomach, and then pulled him off balance and just let him fall down the eight steps to the bottom. I picked up my books and went up the steps without saying a word. He never punched me again.
There WERE "cool kids" in our school, and they were the ones who hung out with the cheerleaders, went to parties on the weekends, and looked at school as an interruption to their good time. I wasn't in that crowd and never wanted to be. To be honest, though, I did have moments of loneliness because I didn't really think I had any close friends except for my next door neighbor and my girlfriend.
I was as surprised as I could be when the results were released of the finalists for Prom king; there were 10 boys and ten girls who were to be voted on, and I was among those ten boys. I didn't make the cut into the final four (the Court), but I was certainly amazed that I had been in the top ten. I think my girlfriend and her friends must have stuffed the ballot box.