Hockey Tryouts

Doug - Bedford, New York
Entered on April 30, 2009
Age Group: Under 18
  • Listen to This I Believe on RadioPublic

  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

Ask yourself: have you ever gotten something you really wanted, that wasn’t materialistic, without working for it? I believe in dedication. What can you achieve without dedication? To achieve goals that will make a difference in your life, you need to be devoted to success, and with that devotion, you will succeed.

I realized this when I was eight. When I was eight, I was a follower. So when “all” my friends were playing hockey for a local hockey team, the Bears, I “needed” to play for the Bears to fit in. I loved sports anyway, so I tried out. I remember the tryout like it was yesterday. It was at the Harvey School’s ice arena, a crummy, run down rink that smelled of old fish. I couldn’t stop on my left foot, I couldn’t lift the puck off the ice, and I couldn’t last more than a minute without falling down. Fortunately, I was still better than half the kids there, or so I thought.

When I found out I didn’t make the Bears, I immediately searched for excuses. Being the son of a lawyer, I instantly threw the blame on politics. I thought, since those kids had been playing there for 3 years, they automatically made the team. Then I considered that my dad forgot to register me, and the people at the tryout didn’t even know I was there, or maybe they lost the registration form, and didn’t know I was there. The list of excuses was never ending.

The next year, I was certain I would make the Bears. I had been practicing and practicing, but my dad still thought I wouldn’t make it. According to him, there were definitely politics involved in the making of the Bear’s roster. He thought his son was the best at everything. So he signed me up for a different tryout just in case I didn’t make the Bears. I knew I would. Unfortunately, my dad’s always right. I, again, was deprived of the enlightening experience of seeing Douglas Eisman under the Bedford Bears Squirt hockey roster.

In my despair, I tried out for the Bulldogs at Brewster Ice Arena, which was barely in better shape than the Harvey Rink. I went into the arena with a miniscule amount of hope for making the team, due to my recent failures. When I actually got to the tryout, my spirits dropped even more, if that was even possible. The other kids were amazing. Everyone seemed comfortable and confident. I was a misfit. There was no way I was going to make the team.

One week later, I came downstairs for school, and my family was hovered around the computer, and, all at once, they turned to look at me with gleaming, blinding, white smiles. And that is when I learned three things. One, I made the Bulldogs. Two, those gleaming, blinding, white smiles make everything worth my while. I can barely describe the emotion. It was a thrilling sensation. The third lesson was more of an epiphany. Without my hard working season, I would never have experienced that feeling. I realized how great it is, to actually achieve something you worked for. For the first time, I had fully experienced the feeling of succeeding. The next year, we beat the Bears 6 – 2, with help from my two goals.

This value has come into play recently, because my Bar Mitzvah is coming up soon. I started getting tutored in September of 2008, and my Bar – Mitzvah is on April 18th, 2009. Most kids get a whole year or more to learn five prayers, a torah portion, and a haftorah, but I knew I would have to dedicate myself to perfecting these things, since I had five months less than the typical Bar – Mitzvah boy. I now know everything three weeks prior to my actual service.

I have learned that dedication will make you a successful person. I will make a money bet, which I do not do often, that everyone who has achieved something great has worked for it. Have you ever heard of a baseball super star that just got there somehow? How about a president who just decided he had a shot at getting elected? It’s much better to learn the real necessity of dedication as you’re younger, and practice it. Practice devoting yourself to success. Your dreams will become realities. This I believe.