This I Believe

Joseph - Indian Head Park, Illinois
Entered on October 1, 2006
Age Group: Under 18

Nine years ago, a little boy dove into a pool. That’s when it started. With that one splash, everything changed. The boy had no idea what he was getting into, what lied ahead of him. All of the friends he would make. All of the things he would experience. The agonizing pain, the long hours, and the things he would learn. He wouldn’t ever give up. That boy grew, and took with him wisdom and knowledge from the challenges he was faced with. Not knowing, he was being taught things that would help him throughout his whole life. Lessons that started with one splash.

I am that boy. I am still on that journey. For me, swimming was never just a sport, it was my life. From waking up at five in the morning and diving into an icy pool, to swimming an average of 3-4 hours a day, everyday, including holidays. I believe that swimming, and other sports teach lessons and habits that will get carried over to life after competition. The lessons will be carried into the world of school, work, and relationships. I could have been forced to focus on either swimming or school. No, I chose both. Swimming has taught me how to manage my time wisely, and not waste any. With all of the homework I get, and how tired I am after a practice, I could have easily decided that it was too much, and that I had too much to worry about. Since my determination for swimming couldn’t be stopped, and stopping school would never be an option, I had to learn to do both efficiently. This balancing act will carry over after I am done swimming. When I have many responsibilities, I will be able to handle it.

Swimming has also taught me to set goals. Obviously for swimming you set goal times for yourself to achieve throughout the season. Some are higher, and require more effort. Those are the ones that are the most important to me. Setting goals for myself has helped me in the past. Since determination was acquired as time went by, working towards goals became much less complicated. I have the mind set, now all I have to do is do it. Now that I know how to set goals effectively, I am ready to apply that to my life. Once I am older, and working, the process of completing something will come naturally. No goal is too high to reach if you’re willing to put in the effort and determination to achieve it. For me, I’ve learned it through experience, and will always carry that with me. So many things can be taken from sports, not just the obvious. I was never aware that I was being taught life lessons while swimming. When I’m done swimming, I’ll take away so much more. And to think, it all started with that one splash.