This I Believe

Ben - 55419, Minnesota
Entered on October 3, 2006
Age Group: Under 18

Don’t Be Afraid to be Awesome At Everything

I am a firm believer in back-to-back “shotgun” calls. For those of you unfamiliar with the term shotgun, it refers to claiming the front seat of the car you are about to ride in. Although the official rules of the shotgun game are hotly debated, in most cases the car must be in plain sight, at which time the first person to yelp “shotgun” (or “shotty,” “shottyottyoxenfreel,” or make a loud kaplooshing noise vaguely resembling a shotgun) has won the front passenger seat to the dismay of the additional passengers. The winner often calls “no blitz,” meaning none of the other disappointed riders may sprint to the car and steal the front seat. Rare cases include “inside blitz,” but that portion of the game is irrelevant at this point in time.

It is relatively upsetting to certain people when the same person (namely myself) calls shotgun for multiple rides in a row. The pessimists, and negative Nancies of the world claim it is selfish, or unfair to call shotgun more than twice consecutively. I say bullshit. Winning shotty thrice or more over is not selfish at all, it’s just being good at a sweet game. The fact that you are better than your competitors and achieving your best at all times, including in the game of shotgun, is nothing to be ashamed of. I’m not saying that if you feel like being a good sport and sitting in the back you shouldn’t do that on occasion; what I’m saying is that you shouldn’t feel pressured into it by the dissatisfaction of your peers. If you don’t care which side of the center console you’re on, fine. Let someone who does take the airbag seat. But, if you want the front, win the game. Did Michael Jordan lose his sixth championship on purpose, just because he had already won five, and was hogging up all the trophies and rings? Nope. He kicked some serious booty for the sixth time. Playing up to your full potential is important whether it be in a sport, a class, or calling shotgun.

This paper brings me back to the days of 6th, 7th, and 8th grades, where Middle School Non-Working Syndrome (or MSNWS) was violently parading about the Breck hallways. Considered one of the most contagious of diseases among young people, MSNWS is when an inexperienced adolescent student does not achieve maximum grade potential (MGP) due to purposeful lack of effort. As a middle schooler, it was not necessarily “cool,” or “hip” to be receiving consistent A’s. A more intelligent kid might be labeled a “nerd,” or “dork,” unless they were also drafted in the top five every day at recess football. However, no student should ever feel the pressure to do worse than he/she knows he/she can do. This lack of effort helps no one, and especially hinders the one lacking in effort.

Sometimes doing your best can be looked down upon. Maybe you’re labeled a geek, maybe your labeled selfish, maybe you lose some fans because you always win. In any case, utilizing your skills to their full potential is important. Whether it be in Mr. Chein’s sixth grade math class, on the field, or in the parking lot, being good at what you do is nothing to be embarrassed or harassed about. When you succeed at the shotgun game, you’re allowed to be as pleased and satisfied with yourself as you would be after winning the super bowl or achieving a 4.0. The fact that it’s a childish game is irrelevant. Being a child is better anyway. Doing your best, is doing your best, and you can’t be faulted for that. So when the naysayers call you out for being better than they are in any game you’re torching them in, tell them that they are just jealous because you are better. Tell them they should worry about themselves. Tell them to practice up and come back tomorrow. Tell them to always bring their “A” game, and tell them that being number one is super fun. Tell them it’s important to try your best. Tell them you like realizing your MGP, you love the front seat, and last of all tell them you’re going to bring “it” every time in every activity, and that you are proud of your finest work.