It’s fun to do things with friends – play sports, go to school, grow up.Baron Rupp, 14, Mitchell Urbania, 14, A.J. Elam, 14, and Alex Parker, 15, have been friends much of their lives.“We’ve been on various teams with each other since we were little and have gone to school together,” Rupp said. “It’s been great.”All four attended Carmel Middle School.Then came high school and the boys’ first separation.Rupp is a freshman at Myers Park. He’s 6-foot-3 and on the baseball team where he plays pitcher and third base. He also plays on a travel team, Southern Express.A.J. Elam is a freshman at South Mecklenburg. At 5-foot-10, he is the quarterback for the junior varsity football team, and a punter for the varsity team. He normally practices with the JV team.“I like to play golf too. I started playing with my dad and grandfather when I was five,” Elam said. Urbania and Parker are freshmen at Charlotte Christian.Urbania, at 6-foot-1, plays soccer on the varsity team. There are two games a week. On game days, Urbania stays at school after classes, eats and then gets ready for the game. Parker, at 6-foot-2, is fondly called “the big guy” by his three friends. He plays football and is a starter. Since Parker wasn’t able to come when I met with the other three boys, he didn’t get to tell me the nicknames he has for them.The athletes all said that maintaining good grades was very important to them – and their parents. They won’t be allowed to keep up their rigorous schedules if their grades fall.While each boy likes his high school, no one was happy about being separated.“We know each other so well and like hanging out,” said Elam.Urbania said, “I miss my friends a lot.”So far they’ve been able to stay closely connected by texting and using social media. They also try to get together on the weekends, attending each other’s sporting events when possible. They all agreed that they plan on staying friends throughout high school and beyond.
Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012
They’re growing up together
Four friends vow to keep their bond
From left: AJ Elam, Baron Rupp, Alex Parker, Mitchell Urbania