To Be Great

Celina - Melrose, Florida
Entered on November 3, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

William Shakespeare once said “be not afraid of greatness, some are born great others achieve great and some have greatness thrust upon them”. Shakespeare himself was looked up to and respected because he was in fact great, he proved to be a hero to many as well. And while he was great for writing plays and poetry he still seemed to know that no matter what he went through it was still worth it to him. I believe that being great is part of our lives, and helps us achieve our accomplishments and sets us towards our futures. Today many people are considered great, like politicians, music legends, and sports stars. But for me there is one person who stands out to be great, and is therefore my hero and someone who achieved his greatness through hard obstacles. This person is Rocco Baldelli.

A lot of people have probably never heard of this name before, but those who have know and understand why I think he is so great. You see, Rocco Baldelli is an outfielder for the talented Tampa Bay Rays but he isn’t just any regular Major League Baseball player. Baldelli has mitochondrial abnormalities, which means his muscles don’t function like as they should, he gets tired easily, and he can get injured easily. Basically he is a twenty-seven year old man living in an elderly person’s body. He had to go to dozens of doctors to finally get this diagnosis, because this is such a rare disease. In order to stay healthy he has to take handfuls of pills everyday, and he has to sleep many more hours then normal. At this point a lot of people going through this would probably have broken down and given up on their careers. But Baldelli still didn’t give up. He was put on the disabled list for the Rays and after a ton of hard work came back and played in a season game in August. He ended up appearing in 28 games for the Rays and was put on the postseason team. When the Rays went to the ALCS playoffs Baldelli proved he deserved to be there when he hit numerous homeruns and stole many a base to help the Rays when a spot in the World Series. And even in the World Series he helped the Rays follow the improbable dream. In the end even though the Rays did not win the World Series, Rocco Baldelli made himself my hero, and proved to America that he truly is great.

So I believe that we can overcome the obstacles, and follow our dreams for greatness. For instance, when I was 11 years old I worked for a whole year to qualify for a national horseback riding competition. My family couldn’t afford to pay for the trip with me and my horse so I spent countless hours fundraising with fellow riders trying to go. When the qualifying season was over I made it into the top 15 riders in the nation, and had raised enough to make the trip. I was the youngest rider in my division, and did not have the circumstances many of the other riders had. I didn’t have the expensive gear, and the million dollar horse, but I had a heart full of hope and a dream to fulfill. When it was my turn to ride in the show, I did my best and proved myself to many people. For this I call myself great. But I still have a lot more time to achieve true greatness.