Tying My Shoes with One Hand

Robert - Collingdale, Pennsylvania
Entered on April 22, 2009

I believe that everyone goes through hardships, whether it is as a child, teenager, adult or elder. I believe that suffering with the right attitude will cultivate stronger character, thus making us more sturdy individuals.

I grew up in a town where football was everything and everything was football. Baseball was for the talented; soccer was for the strong legs, but football was for everyone, the endowed, the weak, the ones with faith, but football was not for the skeptics or doubters.

I looked forward to playing football in my senior phase of high school. From my freshman to senior year I worked too hard, I sacrificed so much, and I exerted so much energy to be the best. My senior year came and I was ready to play some football.

The scorching August brought sweat, sunburn, dirt and scrapes on my skin. But as my coaches had told me if there is no pain, there is no gain. So the summer camp was a necessary process. I had played my heart out on every play, believing it was my last play out on the field and that I should give my all in everything I do. Unfortunately this way of thinking got me in trouble, because on the second day of camp I broke my wrist.

I was awestruck by how quickly things can be taken away from you. I did not want to believe the doctors when they enlightened me of the season-altering truth, that I had ruined my wrist. I did not want to let this broken bone hinder me from playing. Despite what the doctors had said, the cast surrounding my wrist and the damaged bones caved in, I forced the doctor to sign the note that would allow me to play that season. The medical doctor had strongly advised me not to play and warned me that I could cause permanent damage if I engaged in recreation with this broken wrist. My willingness and determination to play triumphed over the doctors judgments.

I played in eight out of the ten games that season and devoted myself to 53 two-hour practices. I wrapped my cast with a special foam protector, tied my shoes and dressed myself in my football equipment with one hand before every practice and game. I made tackles and played defense with this setback. There were many thoughts that crossed my mind during this time. Most of these thoughts shouted out at me to, “Stop playing and take a break!”

I strained myself from quitting and not giving in to these enticing temptations. At the end of the season I actually won an award and did not completely wreck my wrist. This experience has made me believe that unexpected accidents and tragedies happen to everyone. Nevertheless, I believe that pushing through and not quitting through those daunting times will bring rewards. Whether it produces tangible rewards or builds character, I believe going through hard times makes us a better person. This I believe.