This I Believe

Virginia - North Quincy, Massachusetts
Entered on November 24, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: sports

I grew up in a strict, stereotypical, Chinese household, where school is your main priority and nothing more. As a child, my mother would have me sit in the kitchen and recite the multiplication tables. If I messed up, I would have to start from the beginning. Before bed, I would attempt to read the Chinese newspaper and pick out as many characters that I knew. My brother and I would go to school, come home, do homework, and were expected to behave and let the adults have their conversation. At one point, I was tired of doing math problems and going to Chinese school. I began playing sports, which was probably the last thing that a female, Asian would do. I believe in being different.

At first, my mother didn’t approve that I enjoyed playing basketball, over my Chinese lessons, but my brother supported me. We would go to the park and shoot hoops for hours every weekend. My parent’s friends thought I was strange and should have been more lady-like at the age of 8. Their kids grew up with strict rules that were followed, and if broken would result in punishment. I didn’t care that I was the complete opposite of what their kids were like. I liked being different. It was a chance to break free from the stereotypes that are given to me because of my small eyes and yellow skin.

Now, as a high school senior, I still participate in many sports. Although I no longer play for the school basketball team, I picked up the sport of volleyball. Not many Asians are seen in high school or collegiate athletics. But I hope that I can make a small difference. My parents couldn’t be happier that I decided to follow a different path. Many of my parent’s friends are impressed at how much time and effort I am willing to put into being a student athlete. Some of them even let their kids play sports now, because they say I have set a good example for them. Being different can be a good thing and inspire others to be different too.