This I Believe

Maurissa - Heber City, Utah
Entered on December 14, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
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Maurissa W

Innocent Until Proven Guilty

You say “hi” to someone at practice, an older member of the team. You’re a freshman and just joined. They mumble something back and then look at you as if you’re a complete idiot. They whisper something to their friend standing next to them, which you’re sure is about you, then laugh and walk away. You’re left with an empty feeling in the pit of your stomach, wondering how you’re supposed to feel welcome on the team if everyone acts like you’re an alien from another planet, just because of your age or height. Why are so many kids nowadays learning to judge people this way?

I’ve been short for my age all my life and as a result, I have often been treated like I’m four years younger than everyone else my age, especially when I am on a sports team. This has nothing to do with my ability. I can’t change this about me, but what I can change is how I treat others who may be in this same position. I can also keep a bubbly and happy attitude. I believe that we shouldn’t be judged for things we cannot change, but rather we should be recognized for our personality, attitude and ability.

Often people a year or so younger than me treat me better than kids my own age. Why is that? It is because they can look at me as an example, rather than as new competition; get past what is on the outside recognizing what is on the inside. The differences on the team make the team stronger. It seems that the younger people on the team are able to see that more than the older team members. Perhaps that is because they see themselves as a team, instead of a star. When they become the older ones on the team, they treat younger team members just as they were treated. If we could all learn not to do this, the world could be a much better place.

I believe that kids should not be treated like they know nothing and are stupid. There are many worthwhile things to do in life rather than making fun of others. I don’t ever want any kid to feel this way. I want kids to feel like they are wanted on the team, rather than dreading practice because you know the other members will be jerks. I have made it a goal to be nice to everyone regardless of their age or size. I believe that everyone is special, everyone has a place, and everyone contributes to the team. Maybe someday I can participate on a team that doesn’t judge.