Lions Believe

Matthew - Orlando, Florida
Entered on December 8, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

Throughout my life I have lived by one simple principle, to work hard. No matter what my goal or desire is, I know that it can always be earned, through hard work, discipline, and belief in ones self. It wasn’t until my sophomore year of high school that I truly learned how crucial it is to develop the right habits for working hard and persevering through life’s obstacles. Like most teens entering high school my life was at a standstill with boredom and laziness, so I decided it was time for a serious change. That’s when I made the best decision of my life and joined the wrestling team.

I went to a somewhat small high school with a focus more on academics, rather than its lackluster athletics. There was one shining star though, and that was the wrestling team. I had no prior wrestling knowledge, but after reading up on some of the basics and talking to the coach and some returning guys about how much of an impact it had on their lives, I decided this was for me.

I’d never seriously lifted weights before, so I knew I would have to push myself harder than anyone to make it through the coach’s hell that was conditioning. I quickly learned that thinking you’re prepared to work hard does nothing if you actually aren’t ready to. I cannot begin to describe the intensity and effort needed to perform our various conditioning tasks, but I never once gave up or slowed down; whether I was puking from exhaustion or crying from cramping so bad.

This new work ethic started to grow on me, I began to focus and work better in the classroom and at home as well. I started seeing the positives that came from the changes I had been making, so I made an oath to myself, that from that point on, I would not stop at anything, I would make whatever sacrifices needed, and I would earn my spot on that team, not through talent or strength, but through hard work, self-discipline, and the belief to succeed.

I’m now proud to say that not only did I make the wrestling team my sophomore year, but I was a two time Regional qualifier and part of a two time District Championship team. Not a day went by over the past four years that I’ve heard my coach tell me how hard I work, or how much he respects the dedication I have. It’s through this hard work and perseverance that I went from being a normal high school teenager, to a serious athlete in the best shape of his life, on the best team in the school. So whenever people ask me what the one piece of advice I could give them is, the first words out of mouth are to work hard, persevere, and believe in yourself; because with these ethics anything is possible. This is what I believe.