This I Believe
I believe in the power of athletics; the way complete strangers can be brought together and made a team. I believe in how athletics not only form unity, but they form individuality as well. I have been playing softball ever since I can remember; I have been on numerous teams and worked with many players. Even though softball is a team sport, each and every person has their own part. When I am out on the field I am drawn into the game. It’s just me and my opponent. But when a play comes all of us work together as a whole. Athletics teach me new life lessons each and every day. I learn dedication, teamwork, cooperation, friendships, and also individuality.
My most vivid memory that expresses what I have learned is my last season with my team. I have been on the same team with the same girls for numerous years, The Lakeland Wildcats, and it was finally coming to an end. It was not even a year ago that we were practicing for our last national tournament in Oklahoma. It was a warm afternoon and practice was harder than ever. When one player would make a mistake we all were punished for it. That is an example of how I learned to work with others. We always win as a team and we always lose as a team. Nothing is one persons fault. That practice there was a lot of running because of different mistakes, but we did not blame each other; we picked each other up and knew that is what being a part of a team is all about. The following weekend after that practice we were in Oklahoma for nationals, waiting for our pool play games to begin. It was one hundred degree weather, but we were all there; all of us were dedicated to our team. We went undefeated in pool play but were sent home shortly after in the tournament. Even though we lost, we lost together, and that experience only brought us closer. This tournament was the last that our team ever played together. This was an emotional time for all of us because of all the years we had together, and now we were breaking apart to different teams. This is my most significant memory not because of how we played or if we won or lost; it is because of why we played, why we came together and worked as a whole. Even though our team broke apart we still are all friends today because of the bonds we created. I believe athletics form unity and allow us to be ourselves while working with others. Without softball I would not be who I am today. When I am on the field I am an individual and take the lessons I learn with me through life taking in more and more as I go.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.