Importance of friendship: The Hayden & Karissa Show hits the road in Brandon

Tom A. Savage, Contributing writer

Tom A. Savage/BV Journal 

Karissa (left) celebrates as Hayden drinks the loser’s pickle juice last week in Aspen Park after their pickleball match.


Anne of Avonlea is the first sequel to the book, Anne of Green Gables, the classic children’s novel written in 1908.

In Anne of Avonlea, author L.M. Montgomery writes, “I’m so thankful for friendship. It beautifies life so much.”

I’ve noticed that as I go through life, there have been several friends that have come and gone. I’m sure it’s that way for most people as they get older.

I think of some friends from 30 years ago. I was convinced when we were hanging out in the mid-1990s that we’d be lifelong friends. Now, I struggle to remember their faces. I often wonder what they’re up to.

So, when I see people – especially younger people – connect and become friends, it makes me happy, gives me hope, makes me root for their continued friendship and support.

There’s one particular friendship I’ve seen blossom over the past year that I’m convinced will indeed last a lifetime. At the very least, they’re making an incredible effort to build and strengthen their closeness.

When they learned I wrote about sports, they told me I should write about their story. I hear that a lot, but this request came with a giggle and chuckle as they brought it up.

Hayden and Karissa have become really good – arguably best friends – over the last year. The friendship originated like many others around the world. They work together, and with it, comes an obvious bond as they spend so much time working side-by-side. The down time at the job is spent in countless laughter. Even the busy times come with a smile on their faces.

Both are admittedly non-athletic. As JV basketball benchwarmers in middle school, they have that in common. So, to find out who was worse at the sport, they took some time away from work and played a game of one-on-one to find out.

Hayden won.

But the friendly rivalry didn’t stop at basketball. They’ve since played billiards, bowling, golf and pickle ball to determine who’s better…or worse.

It’s a friendly competition each month. It strengthens their friendship, and produces gut-busting hearty laughs every time out.

Their last outing was the pickleball game, which took place at Aspen Park in Brandon last week. 

Karissa won 11-2 and 9-1. Hayden conceded Game 2 before Karissa could get to 11. The game included the two sharing a pickle before it started, with the loser forced to drink pickle juice when it was over.

Although Karissa dominated at Aspen Park, Hayden took it in stride.

“It says a lot about pickleball that I’m losing horribly but still having a really good time,” she said.

Karissa countered with some trash talk.

“She’s a good sport, but she’s not good at sports,” she said, as they both broke out again in laughter.

Karissa took home the traveling trophy, a glass mug purchased at Walmart with the word QUEEN written on it. The mug is broken, a mishap that happened during their basketball game back in November.

As Hayden drank the loser’s pickle juice, and Karissa proudly carried the broken mug off the court, more laughter ensued.

Laughter. How important is it?

Studies have shown that laughter can help relieve pain, bring greater happiness, and even increase immunity. If that’s the case, Hayden and Karissa will live long, pain free and happy lives.

My hope is that Hayden and Karissa’s friendship isn’t uncommon. I’d like to think humanity is filled with those relationships, those friendships, those laughs.

As humans move through life, there are many things out of our control, things we can’t choose. Things happen, and there’s nothing – nothing – we can do about it.

But one thing that we can control, that we can choose, is friends.

“It’s crucial,” Hayden said of the importance of friendship. “I’ve moved around a lot so it’s easy for me to make friends, but not easy to make good friends, which is why it was nice to meet Karissa.”

Although Karissa leads the series 3-2 with wins in bowling, golf and pickleball, there are other events planned. It’s just another opportunity to continue to bolster their friendship.

“It’s super important,” Karissa said of friendship. “If I was alone, my life would not be as fun as it is, especially with Hayden as a friend.”

Seeing Hayden and Karissa form their fantastic bond has been inspiring. It’s also given me the hankering for a pickle, and probably more importantly, to pick up the phone and reach out to some of those friends from 30 years ago.



The Brandon Valley Journal


The Brandon Valley Journal
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Brandon, SD 57005
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