This I Believe

Jordan - Omaha, Nebraska
Entered on March 3, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

I believe in strikeouts—the kind where you foul thirteen straight pitches back to the screen before taking a monstrous cut at a good pitch but completely whiff, the kind where you sit back on your heels in the batters’ box and watch the third strike blaze from the pitcher’s hand to the catcher’s glove, and the kind where the umpire completely screws you over on a called third strike.

I believe in putting up a fight for something I desire. When I step up to the plate, I want nothing more than to smack the ball on the sweet spot of my bat and send it sailing to the gap in left-center field. Sometimes—however great my want—failure is inevitable. When I can feel the gaze of a Division I recruit burning from the mound all the way through my jersey, I know I’m just another victim. But even when I sense defeat lingering in the air, I let my perseverance shine through by refusing to go down without a struggle.

I believe in the times when I don’t feel like putting in effort. Sometimes, my brain is exhausted from a daunting AP Statistics test, my arms feel like jello from shooting drills at basketball practice, and it seems like the whole entire world decided to team up and work in collaboration against me. I don’t want to be up to bat with the pressure of the game on my shoulders; I want to be in the dugout, lounging on the bench and drinking a Gatorade. I believe a strikeout looking is a test of character. After watching the third strike go by, players tend to turn and saunter slowly toward the dugout—head hanging and bat dragging. I believe in hustling off the field with head held high following a called third strike. It takes a hardcore amount of strength to walk into a huddle of teammates and take the heat for leaving the winning runner on third base. The ability to rise above the worst of times when I’m in the worst of moods is crucial to success in all aspects of life.

I believe in the moments when someone out of my control determines my fate. I believe in the urge to turn and yell hideous profanities at the overweight, 40-year-old guy behind the plate after he calls a blatant ball a strike. But even more so, I believe in resisting this urge. I believe in the power of a deep breath and a small pause—in the importance of carrying my dignity off the field following a controversial call. It shows great tolerance to avoid reacting following an irrational decision from an official; this tolerance paints a picture of my personality. Am I the kind of person who erupts when a situation gets heated, or am I the kind of person who recognizes some things are out of my control and makes adjustments accordingly?

I believe in never surrendering, in defying the odds, in showing my character, in keeping my cool, and in controlling my emotions. I believe in strikeouts.