I believe in hard work. I believe in giving someone a chance to show what he or she can do. I believe that if you believe in something and believe you can get it done, and work hard enough to do it, even the hardest things can often be accomplished.
I have played football since little league, and not once have I taken a play off or given up on my dream. I have always tried as hard as I can, and each year I have had to push myself harder and harder to get the playing time I think I deserve.
I believe it is unfair to not give someone who has worked hard enough to deserve a shot or an opportunity the chance to show what they can do, or what they’ve got. Just because a person isn’t the biggest or strongest, or maybe even the fastest, player on the team doesn’t mean they don’t have the skill or the heart to play the game.
I believe that everyone is capable of being great, even for that one shining moment. I believe that hard work and self-confidence, plus instilling and earning others’ confidence in you, can unlock that potential and capability.
Now, however, I am faced with the most daunting task I have faced in years. Now, I have to play for someone else, someone who is unable to play the game. About a week ago, my football coach delivered the dreaded news that one of our own players had come down with leukemia. He had been with us all four years and was an expected starter on our line this year. He was even mentioned in the newspaper.
Now, football, and life as we knew it has changed. Our teammate is lying in bed at Children’s Hospital, fighting for his life, unable to speak, but still able to comprehend. I don’t know how he is dealing with it. There will come a point when watching film of the football games just won’t be enough, or having a couple close friends come to visit him once a week just won’t cut it.
Losing your hair, your ability to talk, and being immobilized would be considered death to some people. Well, not to my pal, not to the one who has fought so many battles on that field right beside us. Through thick and thin, he’ll never give up, he’ll keep trying, and that means I must, too. So, when I think I’m having a bad day or I’m feeling under the weather, I just have to think of him, and the pain and sickness he is enduring right now to regain my perspective.
I, along with the rest of the team, have dedicated the remainder of our season to him. This experience has made me work even harder on the field, because now I am playing for two people, rather than just myself. Hard work is key to achieving goals in life, but it can also be key to survival, and can sometimes be the only thing you have left to stand by or to trust in. This boy, this man, in that hospital bed is working as hard as he can, and so the least I can do is try to work half as hard and be half the man that he is having to be right now. I hope that one day I can be proud of myself and know that I put forth enough effort to make him proud of me. This I believe.
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