I have learned a many things from participating in high school soccer and making the varsity team was an achievement that I am very proud of accomplishing. It has changed my entire outlook in regards to success and failure plus has provided many life lessons. When I first entered high school, I was shy and tended to avoid challenges that I wasn’t sure I would succeed at or uncomfortable situations where I may look like an idiot. Soccer has changed these qualities about me.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 they were minor mistakes and never changed the outcome of the game. Yet when I came off the field, I would receive criticism 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 this criticism, I started to doubt myself, my abilities and wondered why I was even playing; yet sitting on the bench was even worse and it made me feel like a complete failure. However, my parents refused to let me quit and I didn’t really want to even if I said I did.
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I kept trying and I started to make fewer mistakes when I was on the field. Sometimes I made great plays or a great pass and received encouragement and kudos from my coaches and teammates. When captain’s practices rolled around my sophomore year, I again vowed to myself that I would make varsity. I was not going to be beaten down and was starting to learn 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. Through the years of tough practices and tough games, I have gained an incredible work ethic that carries over into my personal life. It shows to my employer who rewarded me with a large raise.
From my coaches and 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 you must cooperate with teammates to get plays set-up and to score. It is also a skill that I can carry over as I pursue my college degree and in into my career.
The most important thing I have gained is self-confidence on the field, in the class room, and at work. If I fail while trying to do something new, 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 in order to succeed you must risk failing and learn from it. Finally, I have learned to welcome new challenges and to not worry about success or failure—it simply doesn’t matter. The only thing that is important is that I have tried and pushed myself beyond my comfort zone.