All of the miles run, all of the shots taken on goal, all of the drills practiced, and all of the calluses formed were finally worth it when I made the Freshman soccer team. After being cut from the middle school team despite dedicating my life to the sport since age six, I was tenacious in preparing for tryouts that year. I thought that once I made the team, everything would fall into place. I had friends who played soccer, and I expected the season to be incredible. Although practices were grueling and so were the drills I did in my backyard afterward to perfect my skills, I had made up my mind: I would do whatever it took to be competitive.
However, with my first game came the realization that my dedication was not enough. I was clumsy with the ball, too slow, and by the end of the game, one of my teammates asked, “Why are you even here?”
As the season went on, the view from the bench became more natural to me than the view from the field. I continued to run, but didn’t get any faster; I continued to practice drills, but didn’t gain coordination; I continued to listen to what my coach was saying, but didn’t get any better at applying it in a game situation.
I believe that being passionate about something means continuing to work at it despite the outcome. The next year, when the sign-up sheet was posted for JV soccer, mine was the first name on the list. I knew that I would never be one of the star players, but I played for love of the game. I could have chosen a hobby that was easy for me, something that wouldn’t have taken much effort to excel. However, my passion for soccer prevented me from choosing anything else. All of the sweat-soaked shinguards, all of the grass stained socks, and all of the skinned knees were badges of honor to me because I earned them through my dedication to my sport, my addiction, my passion.
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