When I was nine, I played a variety of club and intramural sports. Among them was basketball, my least favorite by far. I enjoyed playing the sport in my driveway with my friends, but could never bring myself to enjoy playing it on an official team. As the years went on, my game did not improve and I became one of the worst players on my team. I asked my dad if I could quit the team, which he said he would allow as long as I played for just one more year. And so I continued to attend every practice and every game. My offense was weak, but by being there I allowed my fellow teammates to improve their defense. My defense was slightly better than my offense, and although it was still mediocre, my teammates were able to work on their offensive technique and become better players. The coach recognized my dedication and, although I did not want him to, he increased my playing time. I still ended up dropping the sport at the end of the season, but I learned a valuable lesson: It is that just by showing up, a person cannot only improve those around him, but also show respect to his coaches, parents, and himself.
Years later, my mom enrolled me in a Drivers’ Education class to save money on car insurance. The class consisted of 36 hours of class time, which was to be done on nights and weekends during the school year. While my friends were at their homes relaxing, I spent my nights in three-hour classes which thoroughly educated me in the differences between stop signs and traffic lights. Every night before class, I reminded myself the importance of showing up. The teacher was counting on me to show up to get paid, and my parents were counting on me to show up for the discount. And so I attended all 36 hours, not just for the teacher, or the discount, but out of respect for my parents, myself, and all the other kids whose parents forced them into the class.
I believe in showing up. It takes no training or expertise and what you lose in time will be made up for with the lessons you learn. By showing up, people make things easier for each other, and potentially improve those around them. Showing up builds patience and character. It allows others to reach their goals. So the next time you are needed, I encourage you to show up.
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