Just Swing Away

Madeleine - Rancho Santa Fe, California
Entered on March 26, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: courage

Imagine this scenario. You are playing in a volleyball game, and the score is 24-23—game point for your opponents. What are you going to do? Are you just going to try to hit the ball softly to the other team to be sure you’re keeping it in play, or are you going to go for it, and hit the ball as hard as you can, or in other words, swing away? The answer is to go for it. No matter what the outcome is, you always need to swing away, because most often, that’s what’s going to get the game done, and even if you miss the hit, you tried your hardest, right? You weren’t afraid to go for it, and that’s a totally honorable thing. I believe in swinging away.

A young man once asked Michael Jordan, “Michael, how do you make all of those game-winning shots?”

Michael Jordan responded, “Because I’m not afraid to miss.”

In life, you normally get two choices whenever you need to make a decision: play it safe, or take a risk. Most people play it safe, because that way, they’re sure they can’t lose. But, they can’t win either. When you play it safe, you’re just preventing a loss, most often because you’re scared. But if you really want to win, you can’t be afraid of losing, but you need to understand that sometimes, it’s an inevitable thing.

In order for things to go your way, you need to trust yourself and be confident that everything will turn out all right.

For instance, when I was seven, my brother, my dad and I took a trip to this lake in Arizona. There was a big cliff with a thirty-five foot drop, and my older brother, my dad and I decided that we wanted to jump off of it. We got to the top, and my dad jumped off, and then my brother, but at first, I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Deep down, I knew everything would be fine if I jumped off, but I was freaked out. My brother and my dad jumped off a few more times after that, while I just stood at the top, feeling kind of like a complete loser. After what seemed to me like hours of standing at the top, thinking about how many things could go wrong if I jumped, my dad called to me that we had to leave. That was when I realized that if I didn’t do it, I would regret it later. I decided right then that if my brother and dad could jump off without getting hurt, I could too. So, I jumped. It was so awesome, and as you may have guessed, nothing bad happened. The only thing I was disappointed about was that I didn’t have more time to jump off more.

It really is amazing what can happen when you just trust yourself, take a risk, and swing away.