This I Believe

andrew - fort wayne, Indiana
Entered on January 24, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: sports

Sports are the cornerstone to my life. Sports made me the person I am right now. I know I wouldn’t be in this same situation of writing this paper at Purdue University if I didn’t have sports. Some just say sports are a time filler, or something to do for fun when you’re a kid, but not for me. I know the blessing God gave me to be athletic has guided me throughout all my life.

Since I have started going to college, I realized a lot about myself. I also noticed many of the people I use to hang out with back home are still doing the same thing since I left, nothing. They are either working or attempting to stay in school. Part of me felt bad for them, but another felt extremely blessed to not be in their predicament. The chance to succeed is incredible when I actually thought about it.

The one main event that shaped my thinking occurred the first night back over winter break. I went over to my friend’s house and I of course saw the usual: people taking shots, beer pong, drinking games, and a guy standing by the counter with two blunts and was packing a bowl. This was what I had been always around, but for some odd reason, this time it just felt weird being there. It didn’t faze me till then, but I realized I didn’t belong. I never had the need or even want to go out and do what every other kid was doing, I believed in making my own choices and living with my own consequences. Though, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t hard for me to constantly stand up for myself.

Whatever it was from alcohol to drugs, I’ve been asked and pressured to take part. I was constantly put in between a rock and a hard place, which made every choice very difficult and fundamental to my progression. These constant tests strengthened my love for sports even more. I was use to always saying no and sometimes even lying to get out of doing certain things, but that soon started to be non-effective. My mother also knew how growing up can be, and the pressures involved in the process. She told me she joined clubs to get away, it gave her a reason to not take part in the influences, and said that I should follow the same approach.

I listened to my mom, and played sports all throughout high school. It kept me busy and out of trouble. I saw way too many people I knew fail over and over again due to the same pressures I was put in. The difference was that I didn’t fall into those traps. Yes, sports were a big part of my life, but in reality, the strong belief in myself is what made me.