In 1980 a group of college hockey players were hand picked by coach Herb Brooks to become the US Olympic hockey team. It wasn’t the best players thrown together but the right players as the coach called them. Brooks taught his players that with hard work they could beat the Russians, who were the best team in the world. The team did great in their pre-olympic games until they lost to the Russians a week before the Olympics started. The team used the loss to fuel their hard work as they went undefeated into the medal round where they would play the Russians in the semi-finals. The US wasn’t the better team and didn’t have the better players, but they beat the best team in the world, leading announcer Al Michaels to scream, “Do you believe miracles? YES!” The Russians knew they were better, but the hard work of the US was what defeated them and helped the US go on to win the gold medal. The US team was one of many groups of people or individual persons who have shown me what hard can get you. I have never and probably will never meet the players but I learned from the players and use it as motivation for my hard work.
Like the 1980 US hockey team, my mom has shown me what hard work can get you. My mom started running and working out in a boot camp with some other women just to get in shape, and ended up falling in love with running. When she heard that some of the other women had decided to run the Saint Louis half-marathon, she decided to run it too. She ran it with ease and afterwards decided that she could run a full marathon, so she ran the Chicago marathon and finished with a time of 3 hours and 54 minutes. After Chicago she was talked into running the Tuscon marathon and she finished with a time of 3 hours and 35 minutes, which was good enough for her to qualify for the Boston marathon so she decided to run it in April 2007. When we got to Boston and as she was preparing for the race the weather forecast showed a nor’easter, which is a big storm in the northeast with heavy rain and hurricane winds, or in other words horrible running weather that you would have to be crazy to try and run a marathon in. This meant that her time would be slower and make running 26.2 miles even harder, but she decided to run anyway and finished the race with an amazing time of 3 hours and 38 minutes, only 3 minutes slower than her time running in the desert in Tuscon. I was so proud of her for completing it and in those conditions it was incredible. She showed me another example of how hard work can accomplish anything but I will still take playing hockey over running any day.
The other side of my family, my dad’s side, is from Macedonia and my great-grandfather Harry Alexander came to America in 1911. In 1946, after World War II ended and my grandfather John Harry Sr returned, they opened a car dealership and then a bowling alley in 1949. They built the business from the ground up and my grandpa is still working three days a week at age 84. He only just recently sold the dealership to my dad who will run it until one of his four boys takes it over. My dad has worked there from age 8 and hasn’t stopped except to go to school. I’ve worked there summers for as long as I can remember washing cars and cleaning and it has taught me the value of hard work and what it feels like to put in a hard day of work. My family has shown me that hard work can get you anywhere in life as long as you’re willing to put in the time and effort.
When I leave high school and after college, I hope that whatever I do with my life I remember the lessons that I’ve learned about hard work and what can be accomplished with it. I hope that someday, people will look at what I’ve done, and my hard work will be recognized by all of them, and that is why I believe in hard work.
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