My Love for the Sport

Kevin - Hot Springs, Arkansas
Entered on October 14, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

My Love for the Sport

Have you ever had something that you truly love to do? Something that you would rather do than anything else in the world? Have you ever set a major goal for that thing? This thing for me is swimming. Since I started, I knew that I was dedicated to this sport. I feel that everyone has something that they truly enjoy doing. As Ray Bradbury said, “If you don’t love something, then don’t do it.” He’s right, why do something you don’t love? This is what motivates me in the pool.

One day last year, on the day of the Arkansas State Championship Meet, I jumped into the pool for warm-ups. I had a feeling inside that I was going to do something great. As I got out of warm-ups, I began to feel nervous in my seat. I listened to my ipod as I focused on the race ahead of me. I could feel the cold, brisk wind blow past my face. The water splashed like pieces of ice being shattered on concrete. I became one with the crowd, with the building, with the air and the pool. I was unstoppable. As my race came closer and closer, I went to talk to my coach. I said “It is time to get my Junior National cut.” She agreed. With that I said “Anything else?” She said “Get out fast and bring it home!” After that I approached the chairs where the finalists sit. I could tell that people’s minds were racing as they moved around and talked to each other, but I was still and silent, focused on the task ahead. We stood up and began to approach the blocks while the entrance song was played. The announcer said everybody’s name and the whistle was blown. We stepped onto the blocks. “Take your mark.” Beep. I jumped in ahead. As we swam down the pool, I got farther and farther away from my competition. As I flip-turned, I was ahead. Now I knew nobody could catch me. All I wanted was that Junior Cut! As I got close to the end, the crowd was roaring. I pushed as hard as I could to the finish. As I touched, I looked up to see if I had made it or not. I had gotten the winter junior cut, but not the summer one. I was still happy and I received a gold medal later for winning.

As I looked back on that race, I realized what it took to get me there. It took pain beyond belief, main practice sets that were ridiculously brutal, soreness from head to toe, not enough sleep, having to eat all of the right foods and waking up extremely early for practice. I was exhausted from stress, soreness, hard work and sleep deprivation. I was pushed to the limit every week, just trying to survive until the last practice was over, then it would start all over again. Dedication is the key to success. Without it I can achieve nothing. Again, Ray Bradbury’s words resound through me. “I know you’ve heard it a thousand times before. But it’s true-hard work pays off. If you want to be good, you have to practice, practice, practice. If you don’t love something, then don’t do it.”

I can relate to what Bradbury said. Every summer while my friends in Hot Springs are having fun, I am in Little Rock training. Two-a-days, weights, dry land training, fast-paced sprint sets, and long aerobic sets are drilled into us. I hear about all of the fun things that my friends are getting to do over the summer, but I would still rather be in the pool training for something better. It is hard work that gets us through life. Without it I don’t know what I would do.

I say all of these things to inspire you toward something that you love. Be proud of the work that it takes to be great at something. When you decide to do something, fully commit to it. Commit your mind, body and soul to your dreams and desires. Making sacrifices on a daily basis may not seem exciting at the time, but in the long run, these are the times that will matter the most.