I had never been in colder water than this. As I stood in the water, heart pounding, not knowing what the next 2 hours of my life would be like. “SWIM!” yelled my coach, a small woman that looked like she could beat any guy in the pool in a fist fight. It was my first swimming practice of my life. I will admit that I only joined the swim team because of a girl that went to my school. But like most actions that women conjure in men, I regretted the decision instantly, in fact I swore to never look at that girl again. By the end of the practice the ice cold water did little to cool me off from the amount of work that I had just done. With my back against the wall, wading in the water I said to myself, “there is no way any girl is worth this much effort”.
When my mom came to pick me she must have laughed at what she saw, or rather what she heard; a whole group of young men that looked more like beached whales, as they lay on the swimming pool deck moaning from the pain that they were in. The sight of my mom at that moment must have been the happiest I had been to see her. Getting in our car and sitting down in the leather seat felt as though God had created it for me and me alone. When I got out of the car, my legs turned into jelly, and I must have looked like a man stumbling out of a bar after having too much to drink. “I want to quit” I told my mom. She gave me answer that I am sure most moms tell their children, “Just give it one more day”, so I did.
Everyday, after every practice, I would come home, feeling worse than the day before. Everyday I would tell my mom that I wanted to quit but the answer would always be, one more day. So I would listen to my mom and went for one more day, putting myself through another 2 hours of something that I did not enjoy. But I soon realized that my pain was slowly making me stronger. I even started to enjoy swimming. I liked swimming so much that I joined a club in the summer. Swimming had turned into my passion, and by the time I left the school I had broken two individual school records, and one team record. But I was on my way to face another task that I had never encountered before. It was called the Culver Military Academy.
I had never been to a school any larger than 70 kids. So right away a school close to the size of 1,000 kids was uncomforting enough for me. But having a set schedule, having to perform any duty perfectly with the consequence of having someone close to 18 years old yell at you to the point that you believed everything they said about you was true. I wanted to leave as soon as possible. But my mother’s words echoed in my head, “one more day”. “One more day”, my mom’s words have stuck with me ever since that first swim practice. The strength that I gained from my swim practices made me physically tough. My freshman year in high school made me mentally tough and disciplined, however I was not molded into the image that the people who would yell at me envisioned. Resisting their bad habits of hazing for one day at a time allowed me to be as little like them as possible.
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