I Believe in Stepping Up
Throughout our educational career, almost all of us have taken part in some kind of school-sponsored leadership program. Although some of us are better at being leaders than others, we all have the capability to step up and show our true colors. It may be nerve-wracking to do so, but in the end it usually comes out to be a rewarding experience, as it did for me when I was thrown in the net of a soccer game – a position I had never played before.
The ref blew his whistle, and they were off. The first fifteen minutes were very relaxed; my team managed to keep the ball on the other side of the field. But suddenly, there was a breakaway from the biggest player on the other team. I started to get nervous while the defensive players began to move in on him. They worked hard and were able to slow him down, but it was no use. I could see the muscles in his body tense as he readied himself to shoot the ball. I prayed that it would go out of bounds, or that he would make a mistake and it would just roll right to me. But he was big and powerful, and I knew he was going to kick the thing as hard as he could. And he did, aiming for the opposite corner of the net. Keeping my eyes on the ball, I felt my feet leave the ground with my arms outstretched. I felt the roundness of the ball fill the spherical shape of my bare hands. I had the ball, and I knew it. Just as I hit the ground, I heard the crowd begin to cheer. Still in a daze, I stood up and distributed the ball to our best forward, and he went on to score a goal. I could not believe what I had done.
Although we did not win the game –3 to 2 – it was an amazing experience. I learned that I was actually somewhat decent at a position I was previously terrified of. I don’t know if it was fate, or just luck, but I’ve been playing goalkeeper ever since. And it was all because I stepped up when the rest of the team would not. I believe in stepping up.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.