This I Believe

Daniel - Kirkwood, Missouri
Entered on June 1, 2006
Age Group: Under 18

I believe in always taking risks. I went paintballing for the first time in November of my 8th grade year. The referee explained the rules to us. In a round of paintball there are only three ways to get out, run out of ammo, run out of time, or get shot. The first two appealed to me far more than the third. After he finished explaining the rules, we received our gear and headed to the paintball courses. At first, I was not hacing any fun. Round after round, I hid behind trees or whatever cover I could find, praying I wouldn’t get shot. Every once in a while, I mustered up enough courage to poke my head out for a second or two. After several hours of this, I was beginning to wonder why anyone would play this game for fun. Then one round, I took what seemed to be the biggest risk in my life. As soon as the referee blew the whistle, I ran for the piece of cover that was closest to the opposing team, passing by safer and better pieces of cover. I was almost halfway there when a paintball struck me in the forehead, knocking me flat on my back. I had taken the risk and failed, but I was no longer afraid of being hit. In the games that followed, I took more risks and got hit more, but I was enjoying myself. I was no longer cowering behind a tree, I was having fun.

My friends and I have been paintballing many times since then and each time I take more and more risks as my confidence grows. I still get hit a lot, but I am having more fun. Each bruise and welt I receive represents a risk I took and failed. I don’t regret taking the risk, nor do I dwell on the negative side of the bruise. Instead, I compare them to those of my friends. We swap the stories behind the bruises and the risks we took. If I never took risks, I would not have anything to enjoy in life.

Risks both big and small, are rewarding. Every time I try something new, whether it be a new sport or calamari, I never regret trying it. Without taking risks, I would never discover new things that I enjoy or hate. Each failure and success teaches me something new. That is why I believe in taking risks.