This I Believe

Nigel - Sugar Hill, Georgia
Entered on October 15, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: setbacks

When I was twelve, my parents told me that we were moving from England, to the States. At the time I hated them; how dare they take me away from my friends, my school, and my life? After a week in the states, I decided that I never wanted to go back to England; I was having way too much fun. The weather was amazing, the food great, and my new school fantastic. My school however was not coed; the boys and girls were on the same campus, but in different buildings. This meant one-hundred percent ‘guy-time’. It was great. The jokes were crude, fights unrestricted, and Physical Education was the most popular class. I remember vividly, that there was always a rift between the fifth and sixth graders. Fifth and sixth graders didn’t talk to, eat, or associate with one another. The rift was widened during lunch and recess. With no girls to hinder our progress, we would eat our lunch fast, and sprint even faster to the field for an intense game of soccer. It was somewhat of a brutal game, with both pride and the testosterone levels being high, but a game in which the sixth graders rarely, if ever, lost. One day, I made one of the most important decisions of my life; I decided to play with the fifth graders. It seemed to me that our continuous pounding wasn’t going to help me get better, and I seemed to get no satisfaction when we won. My decision was met with horror and disgust from my classmates. They couldn’t understand why anyone would even consider such an idea. Regardless, I played with the fifth graders and continued to do so. Defeat became somewhat habitual, but I remember that when we did win, the emotion that I felt was incredible, and worth all the criticism in the world.

I believe in the underdog. The token ‘loser’, the last person picked on a team, the person whom all the cards in the deck are stacked against. Believing in the underdog means believing in hope; and in the fact that anything is possible if it is wanted badly enough. This belief goes deeper than an elementary game of soccer; it is applied all over. To the man who is diagnosed with cancer, manages to recover, fight, and win six Tour de France’s. The same man who was told he’d never ride a bike again and that if he was lucky, he might survive. Since that verdict, he’s not only survived but thrived. Lance Armstrong lives by his motto; he lives strong. As Barack Obama said, “I’m not talking about blind optimism here…No I’m talking about something more substantial. It’s the hope of slaves sitting around a fire singing freedom songs; the hope of immigrants setting out for distant shores; the hope of a young naval lieutenant bravely patrolling the Mekong Delta; the hope of a mill worker’s son who dates to defy the odds; the hope of a skinny kid with a funny name who believes that America has a place for him, too. The audacity of hope!”. Believing in the underdog means that there is hope; after all, it makes for miracles.