I believe in healthy competition, the kind that enables us to grow and prosper. When I first moved to the small town of Las Cruces, New Mexico from Dallas, Texas I had a hard time fitting in. Up to that point in my life I had always played baseball and I had to leave all of my teammates behind in Dallas. I remember showing up with all my gear and being really excited getting to do that which I loved once again. At the end of practice the coach proceeded to yell at us and call us fat, lazy slobs who he felt he was too good for. As I walked to where my dad was supposed to pick me up I saw a sport that I had never seen before, hockey. I stood there in awe as the players seemed to fly around on invisible wings, all knowing where to go and what to do. The fast pace of this game really pulled me in. After watching them for a few minutes I finally worked up the courage to walk over to them and talk to them about their sport. They greeted me with open arms and happily explained to me the aspects of the game as well as answering any questions that I had. When my dad picked me up I told him that I did not want to play baseball anymore and that I wanted to play hockey. He looked at me in disbelief and asked me why in the world I would want to play that sport. I spent that entire summer in my driveway on rollerblades mimicking the fluid motions of the players I had seen and mastering the art of puck control and shooting. I felt that if I was going to play this new sport I wanted to be competitive and not the one that got carried by everyone else. When the next season rolled around I anxiously awaited my first game. The first games were in the form of a pre-season tournament. I was paired up with people who I had never met before and they all looked at me suspiciously. I also met the people I had seen at the practice and they remembered me and told me that I would be fine. My team ended up winning the tournament and I became great friends with all of my teammates, many of whom were on my seasonal team. Six years later not all of us still play hockey, we have school and work to consider, but the bonds of friendship that I made were forged in the sometimes extremely heated fires of competition and they can never be broken. I grew up a lot in that five years, I learned that you may not always get what you want, but if you do not even compete, you never will.
Padraic - Las Cruces, New Mexico
Entered on April 30, 2009
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