This I Believe

David - Bartlett, Illinois
Entered on November 6, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30

Riding the Pine

Soccer is a sport of fast plays and non-stop running but for the last four years my soccer career has consisted of non-stop sitting. I have sat on the bench for my high school team almost every game and have received little playing time but I still do not regret joining. By sitting on the bench I have come to believe that great success lies not in athletic ability but in being able to communicate with others and make friends. I will never forget the change in my life after simply saying hello to another person I normally would never talk to.

I remember my first day of soccer practice freshman year and how terrified I was to be on the team. I was one of two white kids surrounded by kids not only of a different race but of a completely different lifestyle. Since I lacked any skill in soccer to impress anyone, I decided to keep quiet and terrified on the bench for two years.

Then came junior year and I had finally earned some respect; I was now Varsity bench warmer. Even though I was pretty sure no one knew my name, I had taken a liking to the kids on the team over the last two years. I had decided it was time I finally started to talk to them. I started out small with a joke or two while sitting on the bench but it eventually grew to actual conversations. Soon everyone knew my name and I saw that everyone on the team had similar lives and experiences no matter their race, how much money they had, or what grades they got. After I finally started opening up to the team, soccer was something I looked forward to each day after school.

Now I am in my last year of soccer but I feel a part of it will live in me forever. Although I’m not a sports hero, I have built great friendships more important than any goal I could have scored. By sitting on the bench I have learned that everyone deserves to be accepted and to never feel as if what I have to say is unimportant.