I have learned a many things from participating in varsity soccer and making the varsity team was an achievement that I am very proud of accomplishing. It has changed my entire outlook on and attitude toward life. Before my freshman year of high school, I was shy and tended to avoid seemingly impossible challenges or uncomfortable situations where I may not succeed. Soccer has changed these qualities.
When I started high school, my goal was to make varsity soccer. I went to every captain’s practice and worked as hard as I could to learn the way my coach expected things to be done. The day came when the varsity players were named and I was not on the list. I was crushed and wondered if I even wanted to play soccer anymore, even though I had been playing since I was 4 years old.
I stuck with it and vowed to improve that year while playing for the JV team. There were many occasions where I made mistakes. Most of the time the mistakes were not game changing and they rarely changed the outcome of a play or whether we won or lost. Yet I received a verbal lashing on the sidelines from the coaches for the mistakes I had made. I silently seethed about how unfair it was and how awful I was as a player. Because of these occurrences, I started to doubt myself and to fear playing yet sitting on the bench was even worse and made me feel like a complete failure. However, I kept trying and I didn’t always make mistakes. Sometimes I made great plays and received accolades from my coaches and teammates.
When captain’s practices rolled around my sophomore year, I again vowed to make varsity. I was not going to be beaten down and was learning that by making mistakes I was actually learning in the process and it was making me a better player. That year when the varsity team list came out, I was on it!
Now, as I enter into my last year of high school soccer, I feel like a new person than the one hoping to make varsity soccer 4 years ago. I am still afraid of making mistakes and getting blamed by screaming coaches and angry teammates for a bad play. At times these fears will come true and all I can do is learn from them and move on.
Over the last 13 years, playing soccer has taught me what it takes to succeed on field and in life. From months of tough practices, I have gained an incredible work ethic that carries over into my personal life and shows to my employer who rewarded me with a large raise. From my coaches and fellow teammates, I have learned to what it takes to work well with others in a group. This is a skill that is utilized on the playing field and cooperating with teammates to get plays set-up and to score. But most important, I have also gained self-confidence on the field, in the class room, and at work. If I fail while trying to do something, it doesn’t matter if people get angry and yell; I will just try again and do it better the next time. I realize that it is necessary to risk failing at something in order to succeed. I have learned to welcome a challenge and whether I succeed or fail is irrelevant; the only thing that is important is that I have tried and pushed myself beyond my comfort zone.