This I Believe

Katherine - La Grange, Illinois
Entered on February 27, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

This I Believe…

Wakeboarding basically consumes every summer of mine and it has become my family’s way of “bonding” over the past few years. My family and I move to our lake house in Wisconsin for the summer and almost every d a y w e a r e o u t o n t h e w a t e r w a k e b o a r d i n g .With my sister constantly working, I’m stuck with my three brothers and my dad who set pretty h i g h s t a n d a r d s for me. One day, they challenged me with learning how to clear the wake, which is the most basic trick for a wakeboarder but also the hardest. At first I was skeptical about it and just shrugged it off, but then I noticed that for so long I had been watching my brothers as they got better and better while I just stayed the same. I thought about how I could be just as good as any of them but all I had to do was get rid of my state of mind that made me convinced that any time I tried to do something I would hurt myself. I began to push myself over and over until I pushed too hard and had a bad fall that left me with a sprained ankle. I was out for almost the rest of the season and when I finally got back on the water I felt awkward and was even more scared about injuring myself. I became so distracted with my failures and by the end of the summer; I had not improved at all.

The next summer came, and I was excited to get back on the water to try to clear the wake again but as soon as I strapped in, all of my old fears came rushing over me. I wanted to quit so badly, but I knew I couldn’t. I thought about how instead of waking up at 6:30 a.m. I could be sleeping in until 12, or instead of tiring myself out by 10, I could survive the day without any yawns. The only thing I had to do was quit. It was that// simple. I would not have put myself through any more pain and disappointment, life would be easier and I would be happier. At first that all seemed like it would be fine and dandy but then I thought about what I would be giving up and I just couldn’t do it. I tried and tried again until one day it clicked, //and then the next day it clicked again and soon I was clearing the wake with j u s t a s m u c h e a s e as my brothers. Not only had I begun to have more fun with wakeboarding, I also got more serious about it. I was entered in monthly wakeboarding competitions and I quickly began placing fourth or better for the women’s league. I did not give up and I have yet to give up and that is why I am where I am today when it comes to wakeboarding.

I believe in never giving up, and I know that is easier said then done, but all that time I had paid no attention to the tiny improvements I was making and I didn’t listen to the advice I was given. I mentally beat myself up because I did not think I would ever succeed with clearing the wake. Never giving up is definitely easier said then done,// but when it is done…it is so rewarding.