Up until a couple years ago, I had never played organized sports. But now, I understand why schools and communities so strongly encourage that you play them. At Kent, they make every freshman take at least three seasons of sports, one in the fall, one in the winter, and one in the spring. This was at first a very daunting requirement, adding five days of practice a week to your already full homework schedule. It also seemed at times useless. But now, being almost finished with the year, I am starting to understand why playing sports is so important.
I believe in team sports. I believe in team sports as something greater than what shows up on a final scoreboard, something bigger than winning a championship. I believe in team sports reflecting life’s lessons in different scenarios. Through all the endless practices, the running of stairs, the lifting of weights, you began to realize that there is more to sports than winning the game. The first season of sports was a way to introduce yourself to people you have never met before. By being put in the demanding situation, you are able to become a team.
The hot summer days of football, tennis, golf, and soccer gave way to the bone chilling days of hockey season. Starting the season, I knew only a couple guys on the team, and knew virtually nothing about how to play. I was in for a rude awakening. Practicing five days a week, sometimes six, going on trips to Toronto, running red rocks, and enduring the five hour practices over break, I saw how varsity sports were played. Not only does the rigorous schedule bring you closer to your teammates and help you encourage them, it also teaches you work ethic, perseverance, endurance, and self confidence.
Hockey made me believe that I could do more than I ever thought possible. After six months of grueling practices, I felt invincible.
As hockey season ended, lacrosse season began. The first lacrosse game I ever saw, was the first lacrosse game I ever played in. I found my self faced with the same situation, not knowing how to play, but working hard to catch up. Learning a new game is like being a traveler in a foreign country, there is a new language to learn, a new culture to inhabit, and everyone else seems so settled in. You have to pick up on the tiny nuances that everyone else are already familiar with. But having picked up so much self confidence and work ethic during hockey season, I have never once backed down from a challenge, whether it be playing in a game, or scrimmaging jv.
With every sport, with every game, with every seemingly impossible task, I learn something new about myself. I believe in team sports, because team sports make me believe that I can accomplish something special. Team sports make me believe in me.
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