Becoming the Best

Richard - Hinsdale, Illinois
Entered on October 29, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe competition is responsible for my success.

I have been competing all my life. Whether I was beating my cousin around the

driveway on my tricycle, or beating grandma in monopoly, I have always wanted to win.

And I have always been good at winning. From soccer teams that dominated the

Midwest, to a baseball team that won state, I have grown accustomed to winning.

Winning has made me confident. But it took losing and my distaste for it to push me to

improve upon myself.

Last November, our team prepared for our second round playoff game. Brother

Rice was at our field standing in our way. It was the type of night that was intended for

football games. The leaves had turned to match the red of our uniforms and the turf on

the field was as green as it was for game one. The air was crisp, cool enough to keep me

refreshed but not cold enough to see my breath. There was a slight breeze that carried the

smell of burgers and hotdogs from the concession stand along with the cheers of eight

thousand people. The scene was set for a glorious victory.

We lost. And it ended our season. My confidence was shattered into a million

little pieces. Add the sight of my best friend, a senior, crying over his last game, was

enough to make me tear up. I never wanted to let it happen again. I swore I would never

end another season in tears of pain, but instead in tears of joy.

It motivated me to get better. Everyday I would compete with myself to improve.

Everyday I trained with the distaste in my mouth. I woke up at six a.m. to lift weights

before school. I got a speed coach to get faster. I ran track to get stronger. I ate better.

Everything I did was with a single purpose in mind.

Now the team is 7-2, with losses to two tough teams. But I still consider us the

best. And we are in a great position to prove it in the playoffs.

I did it with winning in mind. The improvements to myself were no accident. I

achieved my intended goal. But it was the desire to achieve the goal that really made a

difference. I have evolved from a year ago to a better me. Without competition I would

never have been driven to succeed, and would have been contempt with mediocrity. This

I believe is true.