This I Believe

Alison - Newtown, Connecticut
Entered on June 4, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
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…This I believe…

I believe in all sorts of things. For one; I believe in people, and when I say that, I follow Anne Frank’s belief when she stated, “all people are really good at heart.” I believe in my religion. Sure, I am not much of a church goer anymore, but whenever in times of trouble, I always look to the Big Guy for help. I even believe that the Yankees will pull out of their dreaded slump, and go to the Series, and who knows, maybe I even believe that they will win. For this essay however, I am just two weeks away from graduation, and with that I have realized something incredibly important. Something most people are not lucky enough to realize until later in life. I believe in myself.

For the last four years I have been on an all male varsity swim team, and let me tell you it has been a hell of a ride. I joined at the awkwardly plump, no real shape of a body, age of fourteen. Swimming had been something I had loved doing as a little kid, and I had dabbled with it competitively when I was younger as well. I wasn’t too bad, and I had the endurance. I landed my spot on the men’s team because in the fall of my freshman year of high school I had to make a decision: Field Hockey, or Swimming. I could not do both and juggle my academic schedule, so I splurged for the new experience of Hockey. I loved the game but being out of the pool just didn’t feel right. Then one day I was offered a spot on the team by the men’s coach, after him hearing I was intererested in swimming, and I wasn’t too shabby.

Being a girl on an all boys team has certainly been an experience. I have become accustomed to bodily functions and the crude jokes that they make against one another and women. I have become accustomed to squeezing my body into a tight suit, and being comfortable with myself. I have become accustomed to pushing myself, and trying my best in order to keep up with them in our six thousand yard practices, and staying neck and neck with them during my races. I have learned to accept mothers who didn’t necessarily want me swimming with their sons, and boys who laughed when they heard they were racing a girl.

This team has taught me a lot about who I am and who I want to be, by making me strong. It has taught me to accept others, the way I was accepted to this team that I now consider family. It has taught me that as long as I try my best, that is all that matters, and when I put my mind to something, I can accomplish anything…this I believe.