This I Believe

Gabriella - Greenacres, Florida
Entered on April 14, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
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I believe in the importance of team work and self-discipline because I have seen the products of those two virtues. The outcome really is awe-inspiring. I have tried to use both at all times because you can’t have one without the other. It is crucial that each person in a team is disciplined; otherwise the final goal could fall apart. In a group setting, every person involved must depend on everyone else.

I had been told this over and over again throughout my life. It was especially ingrained in my head during my elementary school years when teachers tried to instill good morals on the nation’s youth. However, I didn’t realize the pertinence of these pillars until one lonely day at the train station.

I had just gotten off the train and went to wait in my usual spot in the deserted parking lot underneath the overpass. My dad was late in picking me up again so I just sat back and enjoyed the breeze and the monotonous bustle around me. Within a short moment, I heard the commanding voice of a man coming from the end of the parking lot.

I looked over and a drill sergeant was leading the high school ROTC team in a march. The student soldiers were all in a straight line, holding their wooden rifles. The brass buttons were agleam, their uniforms were pressed, and their polished boots completed their image. They were straight backed and serious, listening to every command the drill sergeant was telling them. They were the epitome of order and discipline.

They were mechanical in their sharp, abrupt movements, but strangely beautiful. Each moved with a sense of duty and grace that greatly surpassed my own and I was held in a trance-like state of awe. Their precision was masterpiece and the entire routine was like a dance.

I realized then that if one student put their foot out of place or missed a beat in their routine, the entire atmosphere would be shaken. The spell would be broken and the beauty would go out of the performance.

Each person had to rely on another and had to make sure that their appearance and performance was up to par. Without one single unit, the march would be off. Every student was expected to be reliable because every other team member would be relying on him or her.

I believe it was obvious that many hours went in to learning that routine, practicing that routine, and perfecting that routine. This couldn’t have been achieved without the self-discipline from every member. The final outcome- the beauty and grace of the unanimous movements- couldn’t have been accomplished without team work.