Life has been random in 2020 for area students, and the Democrat’s Lemonade out of Lemons series focuses on senior area athletes with a unique twist. After a short introduction, readers are treated to answers from 10 questions that the student picked blindly from a list of 167 by submitting random numbers of their choice.
Mineral Wells senior Braden Fryer has dreams of playing college baseball and majoring in business but not before having a great summer and starting school at McMurry College.
Braden is the son of Melinda and Jeff Fryer, and he has played baseball, basketball, and football for the Rams, including a stint at starting quarterback this season. In addition to sports, Fryer has also been active on the student council, is a member of the National Honor Society, and he raised blue-ribbon winning rabbits during his four years in FFA.
The stoppage of baseball play earlier this season put the brakes on an outstanding start for the right-handed hurler, who was a perfect 4-0 before the UIL locked out players due to concerns over the COVID-19 virus.
Fryer's baseball attention has turned to McMurry College because he likes the location of the university, and he feels he will get more one-on-one time with his instructors with smaller class sizes. While he is keeping an open mind for a future career, Fryer does feel pursuing a degree in business management will give him lots of options.
One of Fryer's fondest memories was from this year's home baseball tournament when the Rams were pitted against the Burkburnett Bulldogs. It was a tight back-and-forth game, and play paused as Coach Brett Ray, and the Bulldogs' coach squared off in a verbal barrage.
"Coach was out there showing us he had our backs (a Burkburnett player had clipped a Mineral Wells player in the back of the head along the base paths), and he just stood his ground not letting anything like that happen," Fryer said. "Then we rallied and shut them down for the win. That was breathtaking!"
With graduations now taking place, Fryer wanted to let his fellow seniors and underclassmen to realize something.
"First off, I want my fellow seniors to know how much I care about them and that I have enjoyed going to school with all of them," Fryer said. "To the underclassmen, take what happened this year as a valuable lesson, and they should know things can be taken away from them in a heartbeat. One day you are leaving class and expecting to go to school the next day, and it doesn't happen. Treasure your time here because it goes so fast. Don't let small things take away from the bigger picture."
Would you rather fight a horse-sized hamster or 100 hamster-sized horses?
I think I would rather take on 100 hamster-sized horses. They might be a little small and who knows they might be able to take me, but a hamster-sized horse might be too much for me to handle."
What is your biggest pet peeve?
"When the freshmen don't pick up the balls or the equipment. They think they can sneak off without helping pick up everything. That's pretty annoying to me because I had to do it too."
What's on your bucket list for the summer holidays?
"My friends and I are taking lots of trips to the lake to swim and hangout. We are also hoping to take a family vacation this year down in Mexico, but I don't know if that will happen because of COVID-19. Matthew Pierce and I are playing in a summer league, so I hope that goes well for us too."
What experiences at Mineral Wells prepared you to attend college?
"I think that some of the college-level classes I took will have prepared me the most. They have taught me that I will have to work hard and on my own because the teachers are not going to be there to baby you and help you along. You have to want to get up and go to class and get it done. You have to show up and to be more responsible."
Who is your hero, and why?
"I would have to say that I have two heroes, and they are my Grandpa (Graham Byrom) and my Dad. My Grandpa recently passed away from cancer. He was always at my games, and he taught me about being humble. He also taught me that no matter how things are, there is generally a positive side to everything and not to let things take away from being positive. My Dad has always been kind of tough and has had the attitude of letting me try things on my own and make my own mistakes. Then he would tell me why he let me do something so that I could learn it for myself. He has always been to help me, and his playing college baseball has also inspired me."
If you could move anywhere in the world, where would you move and why?
"Honestly, I would probably live in Colorado because I love snowboarding and in the summer you can go jeeping, ride dirt bikes and hike in the mountains."
What is one outrageous thing you desperately want to try before you die?
"I want to try skydiving, and I would also like to take a tour and ride in a submarine. Those are different ends of the spectrum, but I would like to do them both."
What trend or fad are you most embarrassed about being a part of?
"A couple of years ago, people were putting feathers in their hair, and my Mom being a hairdresser wanted to show that she could do that. She made me get one in my hair, and I went to school with a big old orange feather in my hair."
What is the strangest advice your parents ever gave you that proved to be correct?
"That there were some girls that I didn't need to be hanging out with. They would always know who was a good person and who wasn't. I would say 'oh no' they are a good person, and later I would have to go back and admit I was wrong."
Describe your senior year in three words.
"Exciting, disappointing, and memorable."