Missed Opportunity

Julie - Phoenix, Arizona
Entered on November 13, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

In my lifetime, I have given up on so many different activities. For instance, when I was a child; I was in tap, jazz, and ballet classes outside of school. I had low self-esteem and I was afraid of making a mistake and having everyone laugh at me, which lead me to drop out. If I had the confidence and encouragement from peers, and myself there would have been a good chance that I would have stayed in. I just have to remember to believe in myself that I am more capable than I allow myself to believe I am.

I was always afraid to make a commitment to one specific activity because I was afraid I would fail at it when it came to show time. I found it difficult to believe in myself because I have failed at extra curricular activities before. When I was four years old my parents put me in swimming lessons at Wells Park in Chicago, Illinois. After five years of swimming one of my coaches wanted to move me up into an older kids level. My skills were too advanced for the lower kids level. The new class meant more hours of practice, more money and more commitment. My parents asked me if I wanted to stay with the class because they wanted to make sure that I enjoyed it and it would not be a waste of time or money. Even though I was young, I knew my parents were going through some money troubles, and it would be a struggle to pay for the class. I was afraid that if I did continue with the class, and they did make the commitment for paying for it, I would let them down if I didn’t improve. As a result, I decided to quit swimming instead of moving ahead.

Six years later in high school, I wanted to be involved in some type of school activity. My older sister and a couple of our friends were going to try out for the swim team. I figured that since I had been in swim before, I would not be so bad at it the second time around. I decided that is was worth a shot to try out to make the cut for the team. I was extremely nervous during tryouts because it had been over six years since I had swum competitively. Surprisingly enough, I did well during the tryouts. I made the team as a junior varsity swimmer; it felt like riding a bike and after some time I got the hang of it again.

All four years of high school, I stayed on the swim team. I had many accomplishments and won many awards. During my senior year I was voted girl’s team co-captain. During the last award ceremony, I achieved “Most Valuable Swimmer” and “Most Improved.” Overall, looking back, I regret ever quitting swimming just because there would have been a chance for me to be the Team Captain. Getting the name of a Co-Captain is just as good to me. If I had the ability to believe in myself, I could have accomplished amazing things. I know I am capable of a variety of skills I just need to believe in myself.

There are several things very similar to swimming that I haven’t given myself a chance to succeed. If I had been able to allow myself to fail and then try again, I could have accomplished so many other things in my life. Now, I know that I am more capable than I allow myself to believe.