This I Believe

Julia - Buffalo Grove, Illinois
Entered on May 3, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: purpose, sports

If I ask my friends what they do in their spare time, they may muse for a while and say “Uhh… I don’t know, I guess I read and watch some TV,” or “I would go online and on Myspace 24/7 if I could!” Yeah, those may be fun sometimes, but what do they do for you besides temporary entertainment? I’d answer that same question with a more worthwhile activity: sports. I love sports. I believe I have learned life’s most important lessons from them.

I love sports because they inspired me to eat healthier, especially with child obesity on the rise in America. If I have a track meet later in the afternoon, I may get the light cream cheese for my bagel, or not get Zebra Cakes from the vending machine. There also have been times at parties where I’ll have less pop and pizza because I’d have a swim meet the next morning. I also noticed that drinking more water makes a difference in physical and mental performance. I try to drink six glasses of water a day. It helps me stay awake and energized for everything I do.

I love sports because they taught me the importance of taking risks. The phrase “No Pain, No Gain” really applied in swimming. During the past few years of my swimming career, I have hit a slump, in which I would not improve any of my times. This made me really frustrated, but I never really went out of my comfort zone. I was afraid I’d die out in the middle of a workout, hence almost becoming afraid of pain. Then when I joined the track team, one of my coaches got through to me and said no matter how much the lactic acid killed, and believe me, it did, it was o.k. I learned to just walk it off and get beyond it. Now that I am in season again for swimming, I purposely try to go out of my comfort zone, confident that I’ll improve.

Though I love what I do, juggling school work and two strenuous sports at the same time proved to be more difficult then I thought. I can’t do my homework at 9:45 at night, and scarfing down dinner in 20 minutes isn’t very healthy. Better time management is another skill I’ve acquired doing sports, because I now have to think ahead and plan out my school day. A typical day could be like so: “Ok, I can do my math worksheet and my reading for social science during lunch and study my German vocabulary words after my biology test so I can work on my English paper at home after swim practice.” I’m happy that I can manage my time so well for college and my job in life ahead.

My days are jam-packed with the same routine, and I love it. And this I strongly believe: Participating in sports is helping prepare me for a healthy, outgoing, and organized lifestyle.