I Believe In Taking Opportunities

Lauren - Antioch, Illinois
Entered on March 25, 2009
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: carpe diem
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I believe in taking opportunities when they are presented to me. Whether it’s playing a new sport or accepting a scholarship, I believe in taking the chance and seeing where that path leads me.

When my dad was in high school, he was a very successful wrestler. He won state his senior year and would have won his junior year had it not been for a match-ending sickness. He competed in Italy for the Junior Olympics and placed second. Outside of athletics, my dad was an average student. He wasn’t brilliant but he did his work and maintained his grades. He felt that a college education was not one of his options and believed that his future simply included a variety of jobs instead of one stable career. When he was offered a full-ride scholarship to Oklahoma State University for wrestling, he grabbed it. He had always known he would earn some sort of scholarship for his athletic ability and since Oklahoma was well-known for its wrestling, he knew the school was right for him.

Originally, he wanted to go to college solely for wrestling purposes, but his coach suggested that if he is going there for free he might as well get an education. He was hesitant; he wasn’t sure if he was ready for the demanding amount of responsibility that comes along with college-level academics and athletics. He made his final decision to get an education based on the fact that since he has the opportunity there is no reason for him not to take it. He studied and earned his bachelor’s degree in education. After graduation, before my dad even started looking for a job, he was offered a teaching position in physical education at Warren High School. The school had heard of his wrestling abilities and wanted him to be a part of its staff. A year later, they offered him a job as the freshmen wrestling coach.

That was 31 years ago. Since then, he has attained his Master’s in education, still works at Warren as a gym teacher, and has been head wrestling coach for 25 years. Had he not pursued the opportunity to attain an education while attending college, he has no idea where he would be now. Throughout his childhood he always believed that his athletic abilities would be the focus of his future. Ironically, it’s his academics that got him a career and a stable lifestyle. Taking advantage of such an opportunity has changed his life for the better.

Opportunities are not always available, which is why they are so valuable. If, and when, one is presented to me I know I am going to take full advantage of it. I don’t want to be able to look back and wonder what would have happened if I took that chance or where my life would be if I pursued that opportunity. I believe in taking opportunities.