This I Believe

Ryan - Ballwin, Missouri
Entered on May 9, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
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“Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained”

The phrase “nothing ventured, nothing gained” has been thrown around my house ever since I was a kid. My mother has always demonstrated what it takes to live up to that phrase. A few years ago, my mother tried to go back to school while juggling three jobs and a family. I knew how hard it was for her, but her driving force was her family. She then told me that although she was scared she had to do it so that she could make a better life for herself and us. I have learned to live my life the same way. The following is just one example that shows how I took my mother’s philosophy for life.

The unusually warm March sun beat though the windshield of my friends Ford Explorer as we drove to my first day of high school golf try-outs. After many years of competing in nationally ranked golf events, one would think I would be relaxed and calm. Matisyahu’s “King without a Crown” poured from the speakers and drowned out some of the noise from the heavy afternoon traffic, but it was not loud enough to drown out my fears. That fear of failure almost prevented me from trying out.

What realistically is a fifteen-minute drive seemed more like an hour. Millions of thoughts were floating around in my head. There were so many that I can only best compare it to a rainstorm; but not one with just rain, but one that brings a mix of strong winds, hail, thunder, lightening, and heavy downpours. My thoughts too, were just as chaotic. I was nervous and scared that I would shoot a hundred and embarrass myself. The thought of stepping up and standing over my ball on the first tee made me my stomach lurch.

At the same time, I was also very excited at the thought of starting my first high school golf season. I wanted so badly to make an instant impact on the team. I wanted to do this for my team, my family, my school, and myself.

Finally, we pulled into a parking spot at the golf course. I took a quick look at myself in the mirror because for the first time I began to worry about my appearance. I felt a little stupid worrying about what I looked like when it was just guys at the golf course, but I began thinking that if I looked good then maybe it would transfer over to my play on the course.

I gathered my clubs from the truck of my friends Explorer. I could feel my shirt clinging to my back, not so much from the heat of the day, but from my nervousness.

Before I knew it, I was standing on the first tee box. The fairway seemed as narrow as a dark alley. It was so quiet that it was almost eerie. Part of me was almost hoping that someone would make some kind of noise that would release the tension that seemed to be floating around in the air. I stood there over my ball, as I had done a million times before, yet this time seemed much different. I could feel my heart beating so hard I thought it was coming out of my chest. Finally, I swung and hit my ball so pure off the tee that it landed perfectly in the middle of the fairway. I could have probably not walked and placed it out there any better.

I did end up surviving my first day of golf try-outs and have played on my high school team and gone through those try-outs for the last three years now. Maybe not to the same degree as I did on that first day of try-outs, but nonetheless, each year when it comes time for try-outs, I still get some of those same nervous thoughts and feelings. The driving force that makes me go through it year after year, in spite of those feelings, is that I have always believed and tried to live by the motto that “nothing ventured, nothing gained”.