Behind Ben Boyett’s Smile

Behind Ben Boyetts Smile

Ana Gutierrez, Entertainment Editor

I always thought that TV shows and movies dramatized high school a bit too much. The cliques were too easily defined, bullies still took lunch money and students ate lunch in bathroom stalls. But they did get one thing right: rumors spread like wildfire. What brings the most harm is not how far they reach, but how deep they can cut.

Regardless of whether you are “Everyone’s Friend” or your closest companion is the corner of each classroom, your name has most likely been thrown around and included in stories, many of which become distorted. Yet, today I am here to tell you that the real story is not told by the rumor itself, but by what happens after the story dies out and life keeps going.

Senior Ben Boyett is much like any other high school student in Katy. He has a love for football and a knack for academics, an older brother, Tyler, to look up to, a bright future at Texas A&M University to look forward to and his two friends, Greg and Jack, who show loyalty and dependability regardless of the situation.

“I smile because I love my life,” Ben said. “I don’t really have a whole lot that is going wrong. We are in a pretty protected community, so there’s not much that could possibly go wrong. I’m really happy about the way my life is headed.”

It was not too long ago, however, when each day seemed much less promising. One thing led to the next and, all of a sudden, hundreds of students were all retelling stories that repeated his name.

“When you get people talking about you all the time, not in a good way, it kind of…it makes you become callous to it eventually,” Ben said. “Before I realized that whatever people thought about me didn’t change anything, it affected how I saw myself. Through things like this, you see what people are really like.”

While all this was going on, details that are best kept unmentioned, his classmates, and even students he has never met, lost sight of who he was by letting a rumor define him. Even the anti-bullying advocates devoured each bit of the story, letting it change how they saw a guy they had yet to meet. Little did they know that despite a slip up here and there, that guy was and is just like you and me.

“A lot of times, the good things you do go kind of unnoticed, and the bad things spread really fast,” Ben said. “[So] I am open to different types of people. I try to make a conscious effort not to judge people before I really get to know them because I know how much that can affect somebody.”

For example, the day the Aggies won the Cotton Bowl was not just any other day for Ben. Neither was the day Johnny Football was named Heisman Trophy winner.

“If I were to smile about something for the rest of my life…[it would] probably be the Aggies winning the National Championship,” Ben said.

So, what difference would it make if instead of spreading rumors we spread smiles? I know it sounds cheesy, but imagine if smiles were as contagious as another person’s secrets? Laugh lines would replace the wrinkles left by worry and sorrow.

“Halfway through, I kind of just realized that there is so much more to worry about than just the little things that get you down and what not…[the] surreal problems in high school,” Ben said. “My opinion of myself is what really matters.”

It sounds easy to dust yourself off and get back up from public humiliation, but it might not be for the girl in class who only wishes to be able to smile. The same smile you willingly give to your camera every week can change somebody’s day. Rather than spreading love, which sounds too affectionate and awkward for teenagers, share a smile here and there. Eventually those smiles will begin to brighten up how you feel inside as well.

“A smile makes people more open, and more approachable, rather than hostile,” Ben said. “Having to smile more would definitely benefit people.”