This I Believe
Millions of students all over the country participate in intercollegiate athletics to pay their way through school, which makes it a form of work. I believe that sports are one of the most rewarding and fulfilling jobs many of us will ever take part in.
I first played sports in elementary school, taking dance classes and soccer lessons. My constant growth spurts made my body so awkward I didn’t excel like my friends, so in middle school I switched to sports where my height would be an advantage, volleyball and track. The three out of state my family made during my junior high years didn’t make it easy for me to learn either of the two sports, but I still persisted to try them both in high school.
My freshman year volleyball season I was still the outcast, the tall gangly one, and I didn’t think my attempts to become a serious athlete would ever bring any reward, but I continued to try my best. Volleyball ended, indoor track began, and that’s when everything changed. The height I had always been self conscious about finally came in handy, and gave me an advantage over a lot of the other athletes. I was finally good at something. Even though after 14 years of not fitting into pictures or even child size chairs, pants being too short, and being mistaken for my younger sisters mother in public, I felt my height was finally warranted, that wasn’t and isn’t my favorite part of being an athlete.
After getting over the excitement of fitting in I realized that this was going to be tough. My team and I practiced from the months of October to June all four years of high school, with meets every Saturday and one or two throughout the week. Don’t forget about early dismissals for fundraisers, travel time to California, Kentucky, New York, Tennessee, and many other states for meets. The practices, keeping up grades, and spending so much time with the same group of people was challenging to say the least, but that’s when I remembered, “This is life..” I always knew track would be my stepping stone into college and if I was going to be a good athlete it was crucial I learned how to love practice, and love my team and coaches. Just as how in the future I’d need to learn to love my co workers, and love going to work everyday. How I would learn to love my spouses friends and family as my own, and spending time with them.
More importantly than making me feel normal, or teaching me lessons I can use in the future, I believe track has been one of most rewarding experiences of my life, because it is always there for me. No matter what mistakes I made, wrong roads I walked down, I always knew that my team, and my coaches would be there. Regardless of who I made angry, or what dumb thing I said, the track wasn’t going anywhere. In a world of constant inconsistencies, one thing that would never change was my year to year meet schedule. I knew that the thrill and satisfaction I got from winning would always be there to get me out of whatever life slump I was experiencing that week. These things are true about all college athletics and that is why they are so educational and rewarding to millions of young adults out there, this I believe.
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