I believe that sports truly saved my life…

Tyler - Syracuse, New York
Entered on September 2, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: change, sports
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I believe that sports truly saved my life. After graduating middle school with a rough group of friends, high school was approaching rapidly. This group of friends that I associated myself with began to get involved with activities that I did not want to be a part of. It got to a point where these so-called friends of mine decided to take advantage of me, using my house to make a drug deal. It was at this time early in my life that I knew things needed to change. This, I believe, is how sports took over and saved my life, driving me towards becoming a healthier and a more stable human being.

After making the decision to move on without my friends, I created my own bubble. This bubble kept me in check, forcing me to stay focused on my athletic and academic careers, rather than my friends’ lives. The world of sports became an incredible vehicle in my life that steered me towards being in a better place. Whether I was a spectator at professional sporting events or a participant at the high school level, I was fortunate enough to acquire an outlet. The outlet allowed me to hone in on being the best athlete I could be. Without this outlet, I would have suffered through high school with the drug-addicted friends that I had left behind.

By being a high school athlete, I also had gained a confidence that I never truly had in the past. Sports and high school baseball also opened up the opportunity for me to become a member of a team. Unfortunately, camaraderie was tough for me to digest so soon after I had let go of my supposed life-long friends. As the high school baseball team began to flourish as a collective unit, I finally felt comfortable in my own skin and was able to be myself around others. Being out on the baseball field everyday for games and practices was a blessing in disguise. Baseball and all sports kept me away from the negative lifestyle that I was once a part of.

I will never forget the day my friends made that drug deal at my house. However, I do not remember the event for its negative implications. It put life into perspective and showed me what really is important in life. I could have made the decision to stay friends with those troubled teens, but I realized that I needed to make a decision for my life now and for the future. The world of sports was the ticket out of the negativity I was a part of, as it gave me a new start. Being with the people you love, doing the things you love to do, and being happy with who you are were the key components that I learned about through this experience. This, I believe, is how sports saved my life, leading me down a more positive and fulfilling road.