This I Believe

Dakota - Woodland Park, Colorado
Entered on November 21, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: respect

I believe that everyone deserves respect. At sixteen, I have learned a crucial life lesson early on. One Friday night, this past year, I had a life altering experience as I was walking out of the tunnel after another glorious football victory. I had played a hard game and given everything I had, hence the reason I was tired, hurt, and cranky. My father walked up to me and said “great game son, you played one hell of a game”, he then went to give me a hug and I simply shrugged him off and walked away with an attitude. That’s where I went wrong, because when went to make my way into the locker room, I found that my path was blocked by none other than the coach that had taught me the most, whom I deeply admired. Coach gave me that no nonsense look of his, and said “a word please Dakota”. He took me outside and explained to me that he had seen what I had done, and that it was quite out of character for me. He then went on to explain that he had done something similar at one point during his own life and it had been the biggest mistake he had made in his life to date, and that it was unacceptable to treat someone who has done so much for me and that I knew I loved very dearly so disrespectfully. He then said something that will stick with me for the rest of my life. He stared hard at me, as I wilted under his gaze, and finally he spoke. “Dakota your quality and character as a man are evident through the way you present yourself, and after seeing what you did to your father tonight, I must question your character, but only you will be effected by the decisions you make, and you know people deserve to be treated with respect.” I hated hearing that from him, but I knew he was correct. I went from being the model of character on the team, to the epitome of disrespect. I will tell you, even after winning such a huge game, that most undisputedly the longest bus ride home of my life. While everyone else sat around laughing and cheering, I was eating away at myself for being so stupid. It made my insides churn and me seethe inwardly that I could have done that to the man I admire most. When I got off the bus my dad was waiting there for me at the school. I felt like a little kid all over again. I ran over to him and began to profusely apologize to him for what I had done and begging for forgiveness. He told me that her knew I didn’t mean it and he loved me. To this day I don’t think that has evoked such emotion from me. Everyone deserves respect, no matter who they are. I know my dad has my respect.