Just a Game or a Lesson Learned?

Sara - Bartlett, Illinois
Entered on October 27, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

After joining many sports as a child, I fell in love with soccer. I played for 13 years. In kindergarten, twenty kids would run around, fall down, and kick the ball pretty much aimlessly. In middle school, my club practices took up lots of my after-school time, and weekends were dedicated to tournaments or more practicing in my backyard. High school soccer was sometimes rough, with tryouts and long bus rides to other towns for games. I believe that joining a sport at a young age can teach you invaluable life lessons.

I will not succeed right away at everything I try my hand at. To really master something takes skill, dedication, drive, and most of all lots of practice. It’s true that hard work pays off, and that practice makes perfect. I can’t just kick a soccer ball down a field and hope to score goals with it- I need to put in lots of time and effort, repeating drills and reviewing techniques. Playing sports as a child taught me this.

I’ve learned that many things in life take individual as well as group efforts. It’s up to me to put myself where I want to be- no one will do it for me. However, many times along the way I’ll need to rely on co-workers, family, or friends to help motivate me or get the job done. When I play soccer, I can’t win the game by myself- I need a team. There are times to shine as an individual and times to rely on the team. Playing sports as a child taught me this.

In life, things haven’t always gone the way I’ve wanted them to. I have days when everything fits together and nothing can bring me down, and days that aren’t so good. But I remember that it’s important to work through the struggles I’m faced with, to remember that there will always be struggles. Playing sports as a child taught me this.

It is becoming clearer that for me to succeed, I need to be better than the competitor. Being a step above can win me that grade, that promotion. It’s important to stay on my toes and always try to do my best. In soccer, my team played better when we knew we were up against a tough opponent. Win or lose, this rivalry helped make our team better. A little competition can be a good thing. Playing sports as a child taught me this.

When I grow up, if I get married and have kids, I’m going to encourage them to do their best at everything. I want them to be dedicated to something and give it their all. I want them to be well-rounded and I hope that they have certain values instilled in them from the beginning; life lessons they’ve known since a young age. To make sure they do, I’ll encourage them to play sports.