Playing Rooky

Junior describes chess’ impact on his lifestyle

Junior+Keenan+Thrapp+ponders+his+next+move+in+a+game+of+chess.+Thrapp%27s+love+of+chess+developed+at+an+early+age+with+his+mother%27s+encouragement.++
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Playing Rooky

Junior Keenan Thrapp ponders his next move in a game of chess. Thrapp's love of chess developed at an early age with his mother's encouragement.

Junior Keenan Thrapp ponders his next move in a game of chess. Thrapp's love of chess developed at an early age with his mother's encouragement.

Photo by Jasmine Stark

Junior Keenan Thrapp ponders his next move in a game of chess. Thrapp's love of chess developed at an early age with his mother's encouragement.

Photo by Jasmine Stark

Photo by Jasmine Stark

Junior Keenan Thrapp ponders his next move in a game of chess. Thrapp's love of chess developed at an early age with his mother's encouragement.

Story by Stephanie Jumper, staff writer

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A knight piece glides across the colorless chessboard, reaching for glory. Its milky exterior basks in victory and junior Keenan Thrapp speaks his favorite phrase: “Checkmate.”

To Thrapp, chess is more than a pastime.

To Thrapp, chess is a representation of the kind of freedom real life could never offer. 

It lacks legalities, it welcomes all. It’s limitless.

“I can’t, you know, do everything that I would like to because of my age,” Thrapp said.

Yes, there is a driving age. Yes, there is a flying age. But there is no gaming age. 

Thrapp has found refuge in this hobby since the second grade thanks to his mother, an extremely influential figure in his life. 

This maternal presence impacted not only his passions, but also his personality. Thrapp values independence due to his mother’s influence and plans on incorporating his morals into a career.

His dream is to be an architect. To build houses for the homeless and to give security to the insecure. He wishes to welcome others like freshly opened game boards welcome him. 

However, Thrapp spent a significant fraction of his life longing for a home of his own. He has resided in Texarkana for less than five years. Before, he moved from state to state, and from parent to parent, trapped in a cycle of constant migration. 

In the future, he may move voluntarily. He wants to experience more of the world than the few places he has graced. Travel is a budding passion of his, but due to age, he is patiently waiting for a chance to develop this hobby. Luckily, the chessboard is just a short stroll away. 

Admittedly, his future’s not set in stone. He may soon bid Texarkana adieu for college. Or enter directly into the workforce. Regardless, with his tenacity and self reliance, he is sure to win at the game of life. Checkmate.

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