From 5’3” with Braces to Varsity Basketball

Author: Penn Holderness
This post is sponsored by the American Association of Orthodontists, to find an orthodontist near you visit:

I tried out to play basketball 5 times before I made a team. The first time I ever played for a school basketball team was as a Junior in High School. And I only made the JV squad (because honestly, I think they felt bad.) I was the short kid with braces who didn’t give up easily. Oh, and this picture? My brother is only a year older than me.


Kim often joked why I didn’t just pick another sport to play. That would be the logical thing to do, but I watched every single ACC basketball game with my Dad growing up. I knew all the players and their stats. I didn’t want to play any other sport, I loved everything about basketball.

I was determined to make the Varsity team, and eventually as a Senior I did. I grew almost half a foot over that summer, got my braces off, and had a pearly white smile.

It was all worth the wait.

Finding Confidence In The Awkward Years

My son Penn Charles is in middle school now and I see a lot of myself in him. He’s playing basketball and he has braces (although I’m pretty sure he is taller than I was at his age.) I remember these years feeling awkward while I searched for comfort in my own skin.

Recently, I pulled out some old embarrassing photos of me (which, of course, Penn Charles loved.) It was fun to laugh at the bad fashion and my older brother towering over me.  But the biggest thing I wanted Penn Charles to see was the progression my teenage years took me on. I ended my teenage years confident in my own skin, proud of my accomplishments, and with a great smile (thanks braces!)

I know what’s coming for my son, even if he doesn’t. I’m going to blink and he’s going to be a young man. Braces are part of that process, along with the 50 pushups he does every day. The future is as bright as that smile you see above.

If you’re looking at needing braces or aligners to help you feel more confident, you can find an orthodontist near you at When it comes to your teeth, it’s important to see a trained specialist. (Just ask my orthodontist, I had a wicked overbite.)

The post From 5’3” with Braces to Varsity Basketball appeared first on American Association of Orthodontists.

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