This I Believe

Ian - Highlands Ranch, Colorado
Entered on December 4, 2006
Age Group: Under 18

This I Believe….

That obstacles are not physical but mental. That determination is the greatest companion on the path of life. If you believe in yourself and your goals nothing can keep you from success. I see this every day as a competitive swimmer and as a coach. Goals are the key, I have heard that phrase uttered by countless coaches. Only recently have I seen how effective it really is. As a small ambitious freshman I decided that I was going to qualify for the state swim meet. Not a minor accomplishment. Seven seconds, a minor tick in the scheme of life but an unconquerable eternity in the pool, was all that separated me and glory. Seven seconds and two months was all I had to work with. Determination was my guide, leading me through the two and one-half hour practices, pushing me to endure when I felt that I could go no farther. Determination deafened my ears to my critic’s remarks, and replaced them with whispers of encouragement. Six hard fought seconds had fallen leaving me with one last chance to triumph over one last second. It was finals at the league meet my last chance to validate those hours of suffering. Four laps of the pool nothing held back, squeezing every ounce of power from every stroke. My team packs both ends of my lane urging me forward with every breath. The only one in the arena who was against me, just sat there slowly ticking the seconds by. His icy red glare approached the magic 1:06.00 mark, my goal flashes on the board and then appears to pass as I touch the wall. My first breath is punctuated by an icy silence as the computer records my final time. What was only a fraction of a second seemed like the passing of an eon. Mercifully the board admits its defeat and relinquishes the results. That one second margin lies shattered on the deck of the pool. I had done it. I was now one of a few freshmen to be able to call themselves state-qualifiers. How does this relate? Because this is what I believe, that anything is possible for anyone if they are determined enough and are willing to follow through with their pursuits. But as I found out a good cheering section doesn’t hurt either.