Sean - Wilbraham, Massachusetts
Entered on January 13, 2009
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: gratitude, work
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When I was 13 years old I remember attending a soccer practice in early May where only seven of my other teammates were present. We had a roster of 16 players, so exactly half the team was missing. Because I had always fulfilled my commitment to the team and arrived at every practice ready to play, I felt disrespected by my absent teammates. I devoted my time to the team and felt that it was only fair that they do the same. Many of my teammates may have had conflicts, but I believe that commitment in the face of conflict generates loyalty and responsibility. The choices you decide to make in times of indecision decide whether you are truly a committed person. If you make the right decisions in these moments and continuously remain committed to a cause, you prove that you are a responsible and loyal individual.

After feeling disrespected and insignificant to half my team, I told myself that I would forever live up to my commitments in order to avoid making people feel the way I felt by my uncommitted teammates. The echelon of commitment that I now withstood was drastic, but definitely noticed by my peers.

During the next soccer season, I was only of just two players on the team who had attended all the games and practices. This was noticed by my coach who recognized my fellow teammate and me at the last practice of the season. For our perfect attendance, my coach awarded us with free tickets to a professional soccer game. I was very excited that my coach had appointed us with these rewards, but even happier that he had decided to conduct a miniature ceremony in my front of the entire team. At this time, he showed my teammates that I was entirely loyal and committed to them. He showed them that I had pledged my time to them and was consistently responsible and persistent to the team. Most importantly, he showed them, I believe in his words it was, “Their mature level of responsibility and loyalty to the team.”

After I had received such an award, ironically I had only my teammates who were absent from that memorable practice last May to thank. If it were not for them I would not have been so motivated to attend every practice and game during the year. The disrespect that I felt from my teammates lingered with me and was what really allowed me to remain loyal and committed to my teammates although so many of them were content with doing the exact opposite. Because I knew my teammates had many similar conflicts, I often wondered, if remaining committed to the team was not a problem for me, why was it such a reoccurring problem for so many of my teammates?