This I Believe

Eric - Fairbanks, Alaska
Entered on April 10, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
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Just Keep Swimming

Throughout my lifetime, I have not had many struggles or major setbacks. My life has been very good to me. But there are a few experiences in my past which taught me much, how to live, and the importance of determination and focus.

One of those experiences was my bike accident-or more like the injuries from the accident. My shoulder was really torn up, and ended up requiring surgery a year and a half later. I am a competitive swimmer who would like to go on to have a successful swimming career in college. So this set of injuries set me back physically, but has taken much more of a mental toll. I was constantly in flux about whether I should even go to practice the next day or just call it quits for good.

The year before my accident, my swimming career was coming into its own. I actually worked hard at practice, a surprise to many (I had been a quite successful slacker before then), and my times were seeing the effect of doing more work in the pool. After the accident, though, I could not raise my left arm to even take a drink from a water bottle. This was a continuing problem at practice, because I could do no more than 45 minutes to an hour and a half of a two hour long practice. I seriously considered quitting many times, but that would have meant the end of swimming for me. I could not stand the thought of being parted from my sport. Throughout all of this, many people questioned me, why I was ‘slacking’ and not doing the work at practice. This happened in front of me and also extensively behind my back. This was not easy to overcome, and it has been a nagging problem for almost two years now.

After suffering through almost 2 years of mounting pain and teammates acting like I wasn’t part of the team, I went down to Colorado for surgery. I am now recovering from that surgery to hopefully have a good senior season in the pool.

Without determination, I believe I would have quit a long time ago. There is a limit as to what I can make myself do, but the focused determination that I would keep swimming and swim in college has kept me in the pool for the last two years. This, I believe.