This I Believe

Ryan - Ballwin, Missouri
Entered on January 25, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: setbacks, work
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

Ryan Schallom


Don’t Stop Believin’

“Why do we fall, Master Bruce,” says Alfred in Batman Begins. “So we can learn to pick ourselves back up,” says Bruce Wayne. It is how I try to live my life. It shows something about my character if I never quit, and I always try, no matter how many times I fail. When I fail at something, all it does is motivate me to succeed the next time. I feel that failing is necessary at first. One, it keeps you humble, it shows other people that even though you might me amazing at what you do, you are still human. Two, without failing, you would never know what it felt like to struggle, or ever have to pick yourself back up. No matter what it is that I am trying to succeed at, I always give it my all, and never give up.

I “fall” a lot in the sport I play, lacrosse. Varsity had a .500 season; however, JV lost every game except for the last one. It was tough to keep picking myself up again and again, because Varsity was doing alright, but I showed up to every game with the same goal. I wanted to win, and I always gave it my all. It frustrated me, losing every time we stepped on the field. Finally, in the last game of the year, the team came together, and we pulled out a win. Showing up and trying finally had paid off. I had my best game of the year, which is without a doubt, a result of my hard work.

Another fall I had was learning how to use my left hand in lacrosse. My first experience with it was my freshman year during the first week of practice. The coach told me to cradle left-handed, and I dropped it right away. I kept trying at it, but I still couldn’t do it. My coach told me to go home, and cradle in front of the TV, I did and it helped. A neighbor, who had played lacrosse for Navy, told me, “For every one repetition you do right-handed, do two more left-handed.”

When I was in sixth grade, the muscles in my legs deteriorated from a combination of influenza B and a mica plasma infection. The pain from it was worse than I had ever experienced, I spent 5 days in the hospital for it. Every time I tried to walk, I fell from the pain. My doctor told me that I had to sit out all sports for a whole month. It was hard to sit by and watch everyone around me play sports. I had to build my leg muscles back up, little at a time. I could definitely tell that something was different, and that my muscles were weaker. I eventually got to pick myself completely up, another example of never quitting.