This I Believe

Matt - Webster, New York
Entered on March 4, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: sports
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It’s my father who says the little things that get under my skin. Not in a way that brings me down, but a way that inspires me to motivate myself. Before every game my father says to me, “Play with heart and passion son” or he says to me something as simple as, “Go dominate.” Maybe he thinks what he says to me might be, in a way insignificant, but little does my father know that what he says to me before every game feeds my energy and strength to win for him every game. This is why I believe that you can find motivation in the smallest things.

Week three of my JV basketball season, my team and I were preparing for a crucial game versus our division rivals from Greece Athena. They were the most grueling practices we had endured over those four days. We had to run half court sprints, full court suicides, and pressure free throws. After the final practice when the whistle blew, my teammates and I collapsed to the floor in exhaustion, while others tried to hobble over to the water fountain as best they could. After I picked myself up off the floor, I went to the fountain and let me tell you, water had never tasted so good. The cold refreshing crisp taste was flowing down my throat, quenching my thirst and was soothing my sweat drenched face.

The thumping of the bass from the gym stereo system was louder than ever. It’s game time now and the moment of truth had come. We were standing in the tunnel when I began mentally preparing myself. I closed my eyes and tried to shake off the nervous butterflies that seemed to be taking over my body. I thought to myself, over the abrupt and frantic cheers coming from the gym, what my father said to me when he dropped me off. “Big game tonight Matt, if you get in, play with heart and passion. Go tear it up.” Then I opened my eyes and was more focused than ever, with my teammates jumping up and down, our point guard yelled “Lets do this boys!” We ran out with enthusiasm ready to play and bring one home for the Titans.

The start of the second quarter was a shocking one when our point guard drove hard to the hole and rolled his ankle. Coach looked down the bench and casually called out “Krautwurst.” I whipped off my warm-ups faster than ever, checked in and walked on the court. I was instantly met with a roar from the crowd and my name chanted threw the gym. “Krautwurst,” “Krautwurst,” “Krautwurst.” I brought the ball up the court, with my heart pounding, hands shacking, but had no fear. At this point in the game we were down nine, so I ran a few plays. I passed the ball here and passed the ball there and all of a sudden we were only down four. I was constantly thinking about what my father had said to me after every play. I had confidence in myself and started shooting the ball. One after another, the ball kept dropping in the net and the crowd was ecstatic after every shot. Sooner than I thought, the first half was over and the Titans were up ten points. I ended up that night playing the rest of the game scoring thirteen points and helping the team come to a 67-59 victory over Athena. I had pushed myself and was determined to win for the sake of my team, for the hard work we all put in those practices and for my father because of the little things he said to me. Finding motivation within myself helps me in many ways in life, not just through sports. This event was inspirational to me because it showed me that even though my father said those little things, his words were the driving force for me to push my limits, have no fear and to try my best to accomplish what I wanted to accomplish.