To a teenage boy sports, cars, or girls are what make their world go round. And for me, soccer just happened to be that trigger. Practicing day and night, working plays in my head during classes, and being the star on the field during games is what my life consisted of for 15 years. Every aspect of soccer came so easy to me and it wasn’t until my junior year in high school that I learned what it really meant to work for something. In the middle of March I was playing in a game where we were up by two points. The team we were playing had obviously improved since the previous season and they weren’t going down without a fight. It wasn’t but twenty minutes into the game when a player from the other team was coming after me to get the ball. I kicked my way down the field when all of the sudden I felt a sharp pain in my shin and the next thing I remember is the taste of grass.
Coaches and players surrounded me and helped me up to my feet but there wasn’t any way I could put pressure on that leg. I sat out for the rest of the game and went to the doctor the next day. He told me I had a stress fracture. He gave me the news I had nightmares about all these years, I couldn’t finish the season. That realization killed me and I contemplated quitting soccer all together. I stopped sitting at practices and didn’t show up at their games. A few weeks after the accident Coach Cowlishaw saw me in the halls and asked to speak with me in his office after school let out. I told him I would and spent the rest of the afternoon wondering what he wanted to talk about. I couldn’t play, I couldn’t be a soccer player by any means, what did he want from me?
I limped my way into his office and set my crutches on the chair next to me. He explained to me that he was embarrassed by the way I had been handling my situation and that he had always thought of me as a “team player” and not a sore loser. He also told me that he wanted me to be his star player during my senior year so the colleges scouting would notice me but I needed to put in the effort. I told him I would do whatever I needed to in order to be scouted. The next morning he had me out on the field at 6 am stretching and doing simple exercises. Perseverance is what he called it. He said in order to be anything in life, you’ve got to have perseverance. I worked my butt off to get back in shape and in the end, it paid off. Coach Cowlishaw taught me what determination can get you which is why I believe in perseverance.
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