This I Believe

Jason - San Pedro, California
Entered on November 28, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe everyone is shaped by the obstacles they encounter.

For as long as I can remember, I have been the smallest person on the team. Whether it was little league or high school sports, I have always had to prove that I could play at the level of my larger teammates. Being the smallest person on the team built me into the person I am today.

For unknown reasons to me, coaches had the idea that if you are small in stature, you are not capable of competing at a high level. I knew that this could not be more false. Whenever I got home after a disappointing practice, my father would tell me something I never would forget. He would sit me down and say, “No matter who says you can’t play, quitting doesn’t get you into the game. Working hard and persevering is the only way to show everyone else what they’re missing.”

I took this to heart and promised myself that I would never settle for sitting on the bench. Instead, I would do all I could to show the coaches that I deserved to be there, no matter how small I was. As I grew up and experienced new things, I realized that that advice had made me who I am today. Whether a scout told me I was not strong enough or I had received league MVP honors, I knew that I had to keep working hard.

My high school football coach, seeing that I had talent and a strong work ethic, gave me the nickname, “Mighty Mite”, to remind my teammates that hard work is what really matters, not size. As I grew arrogant and lazy, he was quick to remind me that the harder you work, the better you feel. As years went by, I slowly forgot that message.

As I entered college, I knew that I had worked hard to be there, but found myself second-guessing my choice to attend ASU. The work was not difficult and I knew I was not homesick, but something did not feel right. It was when I looked deep down that I remembered what my coach and my father had said years ago. I think I had chosen that school to make life easier on myself, not for the challenge. So, after I had earned enough credits to transfer, I did just that. I found myself increasing my workload and taking more challenging courses, and loving every second of it.

Not only had I found a place that I loved at SDSU, but I had rediscovered how I was supposed to live my life.

I believe that being the smallest player on the team has shaped me into who I am today. That “hurdle” has made me into a young man who would rather work hard and take a more challenging approach, instead of just settling for the easy road. The way we navigate through the “obstacles” of life shapes how we live. So, whenever I look back, I see a little kid whose perseverance and determination shaped how he would live the rest of his life!