Height often connected to perception of abilities

Julia Halpin | Staff Writer

They may never play center on a basketball team or be viewed as their actual age, but those who are vertically challenged are still capable of having their own substantial voices, according to senior Maddie Slutsky.

Slutsky, who stands at four feet, eleven inches, said that she is a perfect example of someone who has a small height, but a big personality.

“I’m really outgoing and friendly, and I don’t let it bother me,” Slutsky said. “People are like, ‘You’re so short,’ and I’m like, ‘Oh, am I? I never notice.’ ”

Junior Jessica Harrison, who stands at exactly five feet, one and three quarters inches, said she faces the same type of teasing that shorter people do, but is still able to laugh along.

“A lot of the guys on the cross country team always make jokes about me being short,” Harrison said. “If I’m sitting down, they’ll say they thought I was standing up. I get a lot of jokes from them, but it’s still funny.”

According to Slutsky, she’s always been one of the shortest in her class, and has grown up with a petite family.

“My mom is the same height as me, and my dad is five feet, six inches,” Slutsky said. “I come from a small family.”

Though she has become used to her small height, Slutsky said she sees the drawbacks that come with having a short stature.

“I used to work at Drug Mart, and the shelves are really high, and I couldn’t stock the stuff that was really high, so they would make me do other things,” Slutsky said. “[They would] have the tall people stock [shelves]; it was kind of embarrassing.”

Unlike Slutsky, Harrison said she doesn’t face obstacles in her day to day life. Instead, she said she uses her height to her advantage in athletics world.

“Most people think that with running, you need the long legs for the strides, but with distance running, [having long legs] doesn’t matter,” Harrison said.

Though Harrison is well trained in distance running, she said there are still some areas of track and field in which she can’t participate because of her height.

“I could never [hurdle],” Harrison said. “The thing is taller than me. I would just fall and trip on it.”

Standing at exactly five feet tall, sophomore Brian Aldrich says he is comfortable with his height, but when transitioning into the high school, he was somewhat apprehensive.

“[Coming into high school] was kind of intimidating,” Aldrich said. “You just kind of look up [at people], and I just think, ‘Oh, god.’ ”

ECA teacher Dino Davis, who is five feet, four inches tall, said he has always maintained an upbeat attitude towards his height.

“I’ve never wished I was taller,” Davis said. “It’s never been an obstacle for me.”

Though Davis is positive about his size, he said he hasn’t always been accepted for his stature.

“As an adult it’s easier, but growing up it’s tougher,” Davis said. “Now, I don’t even hear [short jokes].”

Assistant Athletic Director Eric Silverman, standing at five feet, three inches, said he was able to overcome his height while being younger.

“Even being shorter in high school, I played two years of basketball,” Silverman said. “I mean, I wasn’t the best basketball player on the team, but I still made the team.”

During interviews for jobs or college, Slutsky said that she is often mistaken for a younger, less mature version of herself.

“At school, people know who I am,” Slutsky said. “They know I’m short and I’m fun, but I can be serious at times. For a college interview or a job interview, they think, ‘Oh, well, she’s so small — she’s probably just like a little kid.’”

Along with the assumptions made by strangers about Slutsky’s height, she said she is often the center of short jokes, to which she has grown accustomed.

“[Jokes are made about my height] all the time,” Slutsky said. “[They say things like] ‘Oh, sorry, I didn’t hear anyone; I can’t see anyone either. Where did they go?’ ”

Aldrich said he faces the constant criticism on his height as well, but he doesn’t think they have gotten out of control.

“I don’t think [short jokes] are taken too far; [they’re] just used a lot,” Aldrich said. “People need to get new comebacks, other than [telling me] I’m short, because I know it.”

According to Silverman, having an undersized height has just become a part of who he is and he has never faced too much criticism on the subject.

“It’s just part of my personality,” Silverman said. “I laugh at it. It is who I am, and it’s part of my personality.”

Accepting his height has always been a natural thing according to Silverman, and he says that other people usually don’t notice it.

“I’ve never thought about it,” Silverman said. “I personally believe if you’re good at what you do and the people that you work with and work for respect the job you do, it’s not an issue.”

According to Slutsky, her height doesn’t really bother her, and she embraces it more than she is annoyed with it.

“I would consider myself a leader, and I’m really a take charge kind of person,” Slutsky said. “I don’t let other people push me around. [My height] doesn’t really affect me.”

Similar to Slutsky, Harrison said that her height doesn’t play a big role in who she is, and she utilizes accessible solutions occasionally.

“I wish I was taller sometimes, but it doesn’t really bother me that much,” Harrison said. “You can always wear heels.”