This I Believe

Gilbert - Vista, California
Entered on June 1, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: sports, work

I believe in perseverance.

The starting horn blew and the race began. My dad and I were running in the Camp Pendleton Mud Run– a challenging 6.2 mile race with obstacles including mud pits, walls, deep lakes, steep hills, and a rugged terrain. Moreover, my father and I were competing in the more difficult category of combat boots and military fatigues. “This race is life in a nutshell,” my dad told me. “The boots represent the constant burdens we carry throughout life; the obstacles symbolize struggles we face. Overall, retain a positive attitude and persevere.” Often throughout the race, I felt like walking or just quitting altogether. But with my dad’s words still fresh in my mind, I persevered and won first place in my age division. I understood if I applied this race to my life, I could persevere through anything.

I recalled those words when I faced a real obstacle in my life. In the middle of my cross-country season, I developed a pain in my right hip. After useless icing and stretching, my coach advised me to see the doctor. So I visited the doctor, chiropractor, and physical therapist, but my hip pain remained. My coach explained my options: either quit the season, or continue by practicing in swimming pools and only participating in races. I chose to persevere knowing I could and probably would only increase the severity of my injury. One night while observing me swim, my dad explained how proud he was of me. His words expressed the sincerity of his emotion. How clearly he conveyed his feelings of pride to me. He immediately filled me with a renewed desire to persevere and determination to succeed.

However, my racing performance rapidly declined because obviously swimming

cannot compensate for the more strenuous running workouts. During each race I observed one teammate finish before me that usually finished behind me. Finally at the last race, the California State Championships in Fresno, I finished last behind the other six varsity boys on the team. Yet on the brink of tears, my dad greeted me at the finishing line and proudly congratulated me. I had encountered obstacles that threatened my athletic future, and I had beaten them. I laid aside my personal discomforts and persevered for the team. Because of this trial, I developed a tough perseverance that I truly believe in and apply throughout my daily life.