This I Believe

Courtney - Fredericksburg, Virginia
Entered on March 19, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
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Following Through

I believe that “almost” isn’t good enough. I believe that camera film should be filled, that dates should be kept, and that putting down a book mid-chapter should be punishable by law. I believe in following through.

When I commit to something, I commit to it all the way. Don’t get me wrong: I procrastinate, but when I decide to clean my room, or write that paper for English, or go to the gym and run a mile, it gets done then. When I stand on that precipice of deciding, “Should I do this?” and step over, there is no going back. Ever. Some may call it stubbornness; I call it achievement.

I play volleyball. If anything is fundamental in volleyball it’s following through. There is always that moment, after a tough set, or a pass that goes astray and only you have the power to save it, where you are forced to decide. There is always a point where you look your options in the eyes and ask, “Do I follow through? Does the ball fall, or do I stretch my boundaries to save it for my team?” Imperceptible, it lasts less than a breath, less than a heart-beat. You float in suspended animation with a silent roaring in your ears and surrounded by a stillness so complete that you can almost feel the turning of the Earth, the pulse of the game in your heart. Then, moving so fast that you almost forget why, you react. But what did you decide? Did you follow through?

These are the moments I live for. I don’t always make the play, but I pride myself in trying. Good players are skillful and athletic enough to make the tough plays anyway. Great players are those who go beyond their skills and athleticism to make the seemingly impossible plays. Following through means more than just never giving up; it means surpassing what you are capable of, pushing your boundaries until they would be suspected of breaking, and never letting down your teammates or yourself.

To succeed where others would give up, to attempt the impossible even when you would surely fail, to not only come so close to something that you can feel it, but to be able to wholly embrace the accomplishments or the failures that come with giving all you’ve got: that is the power of following through.

I believe that the pain of defeat is nothing compared to the disappointment of never trying. I believe that putting in that extra effort when you feel that you have no more left to give is worth more than anyone can ever describe. I believe that walking in half steps leaves you with nothing but images of success, dusty dreams, and a stack of unfinished books.

I believe in following through.