This I Believe

Michael - Iola, Wisconsin
Entered on December 7, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: respect
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Respect Pays Off in the End

Respect is such a little word and yet, it has endless possibilities in life. That little word can affect your life in more ways than you could ever count on two hands. Respect is like an unwritten rule in the world; every human being should have it. This magical word can cause some problems, as you are about to find out in my life experience.

When I was younger, I was fortunate enough to be asked to participate on a tournament basketball team with guys a year older than me. I was really proud to be chosen by the coach to play with this, because they were really good! Our team rarely lost, and we won most of the tournaments we played in. I enjoyed being part of a team which was really successful, but I didn’t like our team having a bad reputation that included me.

Every other team in the tournaments, and even their parents too, hated our team. Everyone thought our players were ignorant and cocky. I soon realized that from their point of view some members on our team really were cocky.

I believe in being a respectful person who has a good attitude, especially in sports. My parents raised me this way and now I understand why they did. In that particular situation, it hurt me inside to find out that everyone despised us. The people who were angry and disgusted at us just grouped us all together in one word: “team”. Instead of picking out the individuals that were actually causing trouble, they made the whole team feel guilty and look very bad. People would say “Oh, that kid is from Iola, so cocky.” Or, “I hope Iola doesn’t win; they don’t deserve it.” They said these things every opportunity they got, they loved putting us down. I was just so frustrated because while just one or two people acting out of line, it made me look bad, even though I never acted disrespectful at all.

Now I am a sophomore in high school and the problem has gotten worse. The parents of our players have now become concerned with some player’s behavior. People from other towns have actually written letters to our school addressing the problem. That is very embarrassing! It not only makes our team look bad, it makes the school and the whole community look bad as well. It’s all a big mess and it sucks to be in the middle of the dilemma. Respect started off as a little problem, but as you can see, the problem has grown larger.

I believe strongly in being respectful. It gives adults and peers a very good opinion of you. I don’t want my peers thinking I’m an ignorant, selfish child. If you want to gain the trust of an adult, show them that you can be respectful and they will give you their respect in return. It’s really simple if you think about it. Give respect, gain respect, that, I truly believe!