A Little Extra Effort Goes a Long Way

Casey - Marietta, Georgia
Entered on October 17, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: work

A Little Extra Effort Goes a Long Way

Hard work can be interpreted differently. Some people think of hard work as working a twelve hour shift. Others think of hard work as trying to get over the death of a loved one. However, I think of hard work as pushing yourself to the limit. Pushing yourself as hard as you can go. Giving 110% effort. I believe in hard work.

Unfortunately, I got a late start in competitive tennis. When most kids were playing four hours a day at the age of ten, I was going from soccer practice in the morning, to basketball practice in the afternoon, and then tennis practice for an hour or so at night. I was eleven years old when I started playing tennis four times a week and twelve years old when tennis became my life. At the academy, I was the worst in the group. I then became determined to work hard in tennis and set goals for myself.

The person who made me want to become a better tennis player and believe in hard work was a girl named Amanda McDowell. Today, Amanda plays number one singles at Georgia Tech and has won the NCAA team title twice. This year, she won the NCAA singles title.

When Amanda was fourteen, no coach saw great potential. She was only 5’4’’ and rather scrawny, however, she had high aspirations in mind. Amanda went through a horrible back injury at age fifteen and no one believed that she would come back to tennis. Apparently, that was not an issue in Amanda mind. With hard work, Amanda got her rankings where they needed to be for colleges. Sadly, not many coaches wanted her because of her history of getting injured. Bryan Shelton, women’s coach of Georgia Tech tennis, decided to take a chance. He knew Amanda had gone through a lot, but her work ethic was unstoppable and that was important to him. Today, Bryan would never regret his decision. Amanda McDowell is the perfect example of what hard work can accomplish.

By watching Amanda transform into this elite athlete, I became inspired and saw what hard work can do. I started going to the gym twice a week, being on the court six times a week, and playing tournaments three times a month. When I turned thirteen, I had not only reached my goal to get to the next level, but I had also surpassed it. The day when I started to beat people in my academy group, I realized why all this had happened in just one year. It was hard work.

I believe in hard work because anyone can make it happen with the right mindset. By putting in the little extra effort, a person can raise themselves from good to great. Whether you want to be promoted in your job, or you want to become a better athlete like Amanda and myself, all it takes is hard work and pushing yourself to the max.