Overcoming Pressure

Travis - Appleton, Wisconsin
Entered on January 22, 2009
Age Group: Under 18

I believe that the drive to succeed shows people your true colors and the amount of respect you deserve.

Take into consideration, a scene, where I, 14 years of age or so, an entire crowd of people watching, walks up to the penalty kick marker on a soccer field. I set the ball in place, sweat dripping from my forehead. The rain is falling hard, pushing down on my shoulders, making it harder to stand. The conference championship game, now down to the last sudden death shooter, is reaching its dramatic finish. I simply cannot shake the fact that the game is tied and it is all up to me. I thought about my dad and what he would say or how he would look should I miss this shot. “I can’t believe you practiced so hard for all these years, and you just missed… I mean, the goal is right in front of you, and it’s pretty big!” Oh man… I can’t imagine how terrible I would feel should I miss and he say some of those things. I look the goalie in the eye. I see a look and feeling of uncertainty and discomfort that is being reflected back to me through the goalie’s eyes. It’s time, and I knew it.

For a few brief moments, all surrounding sounds that were presently being made by the crowd and my teammates were blocked out, muted. The only voice was my own. I tried to maintain a steady poise to make the goalie question himself. I have waited too long for this shot. A whistle sounds from over in the referee’s direction. I began my approach. It was cold. The wind was crisp and mean. The rain was only getting in the way. None of this mattered to me. I was focused. I connected with the ball with the at-most prevision, knocking it through as the goalie made a drastic effort to block the fast approaching rocket. There was nothing present that was capable of blocking such a force. The ball flew into the top right corner of the goal. The game was over and my team and I became champions.

That was almost 3 full years ago. I’m still just as proud of myself for making that shot. All that effort and self practice that prepared me to succeed just goes to show you how a little physical and mental preparedness can show people your true colors and the amount of respect you deserve. So don’t ever let someone tell you that you aren’t capable of succeeding at something because you really can do anything you set your mind to.