This I Believe

William - Adrian, Michigan
Entered on March 12, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: courage, fear

I believe that you will miss 100 percent of the shots that you don’t take. Your entire life can pass by, and as long as you made the attempt to better yourself, then you have nothing to regret. It’s when you meet those opportunities to achieve greatness and you let them slip through the cracks, that you will live with regret. You can never be afraid to miss or to make a mistake otherwise you will never achieve anything in life. I know because I missed my opportunity to be great.

Wrestling is a sport of opportunity. Opportunities that you must create for yourself. When this opportunity presents itself you have only a second to capitalize on it.

When I was a senior in high school I let my golden opportunity pass me by. While wrestling in the state tournament I let an inferior wrestler win because of the shots I was afraid to take. I was so nervous that I wrestled like I did while I was a freshman. I moved him around and was just as physical as I had ever been, but was too scared to shoot. I didn’t want to give him a chance to score, so I avoiding making any mistake. But that was my mistake. By taking only a few shots I let him have complete control of the match and have regretted it every day since. Throughout the entire match I had opportunities to take control but let them slip away because I was wrestling with fear.

In the last seconds of the third period I finally gained control. I was down by two points with 30 seconds and I hit an elevator and put the other wrestler on his back, I should have been awarded 2 reversal points and at least 2 near-fall points which would have won the match. But it wasn’t good enough the ref blew the whistle, stopped the match, and took away my victory. I was called for an illegal head scissors, which is not a penalty from the bottom position, and I was penalized 2 points. The match was over as was my career and my opportunity to become State Champion. The match continued to run through my head all the things I should have done flashed and then disappeared. It was all over.

I didn’t lose that match in the last 30 seconds but in the first 270 seconds. I had so many chances to win but let them all pass me by. My shots weren’t blocked or off the mark, it wasn’t that my single legs not deep enough, or that my doubles weren’t strong enough, my fireman did not lack the quickness but they were never taken, they were all held inside in the form of potential energy. I never gave myself the chance to win because of my fear of missing the shot, but now I know that it was much better to take a shot and miss than to never take the possible game winner. You can learn from a missed shot, you can analyze all the things you did wrong and what made you miss that shot. But a shot that you never take can never be corrected you cannot critique something that never happened. I believe that you will always miss 100 percent of the shots you never take.