Never Back Down

Samantha - Lenexa, Kansas
Entered on December 3, 2008

Has anyone ever told you that you couldn’t do something because you’ll never be good enough?

“When you’re young…you have a dream, an unrealistic dream, of what you can achieve. Follow that dream, hold onto it. Don’t let it disappear.” – Franklin Jacobs (former indoor world record holder in the high jump)

I believe that anything is possible if you are passionate, determined, and courageous.

For years I was always the weak one, the short one, the one that backed down from challenges, and quit effortlessly. As a kid, during soccer games, I would shield my face from the ball or timidly back away from the opponent and in no way fight for the ball. Basketball was just as embarrassing. I was “too short”, as everyone said, and I was never strong enough to shoot a basket. But, I always had a dream—a dream I thought could never come true. I dreamed that I would be a tough person, someone that could face adversity and overcome it, someone who would never quit and was determined.

My freshman year in high school, I decided to run cross country. In the beginning I could barely run for ten minutes, but I stuck to the sport even though I wanted to quit. Gradually, I fell in love with running; I fell in love with transcending past my limits. I became determined, passionate, and courageous. For once, I had faith in myself.

I decided to never back down from a challenge and prove all my friends, family, past coaches, and ultimately—myself—wrong. I forced forgetfulness on the pain from obstacles in my running, and in life, and began to train more arduously. In band I tried out and became Drum Major to prove some of my friends wrong and my senior year I attained the leadership of cross country team captain.

Throughout my high school year, I not only found running to be my passion, but I also found God. I wanted to push myself even more and serve God. I decided to commission in the U.S. Army to serve God and my country.

I learned that life will always throw things at you and you need to pick yourself back up and move on because you’re only a failure when you don’t get back up. I learned that no matter what your dream is; hang on to it because anything is possible. Life has no limits and endless possibilities if you are determined, passionate, and courageous. Remember, you’re not great for your skill; you are great for your passion.