This I Believe

Ezana - South Riding, Virginia
Entered on November 18, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: sports
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Hard Work leads to happiness

I believe that hard work leads to happiness. I was cut from my high school basketball team this year. I was in pain that was so very deep and powerful. I came home with a pain I’ve never had; it had pride, strength, and happiness. I came home from school and wrote a brief letter to the game of basketball, my heart poured out words I didn’t think it was capable of. Here is an abridged version of that letter:

Dear Basketball,

I have been with you my whole life, and you have been with me. Being with you is like watching the sunrise…. As my history teacher once said, “There are two things that hard work will guarantee you, and neither of them is achieving your goal. One is that if you work hard at something, you will never have any regrets. The other is that the next time you have to work hard, it will be easy. ”…. I wondered how I could ever look at you without feeling ashamed. This excruciating pain did something I never saw coming. Every time I sense basketball I will be reminded, of freshman year when I couldn’t play. Of waking up at 5:30 in the morning to prepare for next year. Of the thousands of push-ups and sit-ups I put in while everybody was asleep. Of Wootten’s camp and waking up at 6:00 a.m. When I made the team next year, and the tears of joy that burst like balloons. Of every drill I ran in practice. I’ll never forget open gym in the summer or conditioning in the fall. Especially mornings when I was tired and forced myself to wakeup, even when I had to throw up. I’ll never forget going to tryouts when I had the stomach virus. I will never have the responsibility to say: if only I went to camp, conditioning, and tryouts. I stopped being with you not because I chose to, but because I wasn’t needed, and that was the definition of bittersweet …. The next time hard work needs me, I’ll be there for him. Hard work will be easier because of this journey. Hard work pays off; it just has different ways of getting to the bank. Hard work will make anybody successful; this doesn’t mean they’ll achieve their goal. It means that in the end they don’t have to say if only, because they tried their best. Though I failed, hard work has given me two things that I will have forever. I’m glad I got cut this year because I understand this equation: hard work + time + faith= happiness.

Love with all my heart, mind, and soul,


Basketball has taught me that hard work will make you happy. I know that for the rest of my life, I’ll never wonder what could’ve been if I tried my best. Hard work has made me happy, I believe it can do the same for you.