This I Believe

Tom - Beaverton, Oregon
Entered on November 4, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: sports
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I believe in the concept of R.O.L.E.S– Respect, Ownership, Leadership, Effort, and Strength — that is used in Beaverton football. At the start of each football season, our head coach gives us wrist-bands imprinted with R.O.L.E.S. They serve as a reminder to us that in order to overcome the stereotypes of dumb jocks that are simple and self-centered, we must prove ourselves both on and off the field in our athletic, academic, and everyday lives.

Up until the point that I began playing football in the eighth grade, I had always been a good student and an average player in soccer, basketball and baseball. All that changed when I became a part of the Beaverton Youth football team. I felt that I belonged, that I contributed to our team’s success with my efforts on the line, and that the points that I put on the board with my field goals and PATs (points-after-touchdown) helped the team win many games. When Coach Boyer first gave me the R.O.L.E.S. band, I just wore it like it was part of my uniform and didn’t really give much thought to the meaning of the letters on the band. I did well as an athlete on the team and maintained high grades, so I figured that was enough.

This year when I got the R.O.L.E.S. band however, something was different about it, not the appearance, but the meaning of the letters themselves. The wristband wasn’t just an additional piece of my uniform. All of a sudden the idea of R.O.L.E.S. made sense to me. It was up to me to live the words on the band in all aspects of my life.

Football is a very important part of my life, but it is just that, a part of my life. Maybe the maturity that comes with age made me realize that the level of commitment that I put into football is needed in many areas of my life. My relationships with others, my success in school, as well as my accomplishments in football all require that I live out the R.O.L.E.S. concept every day. What will success as a kicker mean to me if I’m a failure as a son, brother, or friend? How will a strong body help me if I’m weak in spirit? Can I respect my teammates and coaches without showing the same respect for my fellow students and teachers?

If I don’t put all of my effort into achieving something, what will the result mean to me?

Though I still wear my R.O.L.E.S. band on my wrist every day, its message has forever changed the way that I look at things in my life. I must Respect myself and others if I am to earn their respect in return. I must take Ownership for my actions in the classroom, at home, as well as on the football field to have pride in myself. I must demonstrate Leadership in the classroom and on the football team if I want others to follow my good example. I must put 100% of my Effort into what I’m trying to accomplish in my life if I expect to enjoy success. I must have Strength not only in my body, but in my mind and spirit as well to be a well-balanced person. Only then can I grow into the man that I hope to be in the future.