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Taking a risk

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I grew up in a basketball jersey, playing Upward when I was little and then playing for Prairie Grove. I loved basketball, for example, the rush from shooting free throws to put your team in the lead. It wasn’t until my junior year in high school that I ever thought about letting it go. The stress from my coach and the expectation to be perfect was too overwhelming while I was also taking difficult classes.  After a lot of prayer and consideration, I decided to leave basketball the fall of my junior year. I was then overwhelmed by the loss of being on a team. I therefore took the risk of joining soccer. I was doubtful about joining a sport so late in my high school career. I had played basketball my entire life, and I didn’t even know if I kicked a soccer ball with my left or right foot.

I went to my first practice the following week, and it was interesting. The soccer coach was also my tennis coach that year, so the transition wasn’t because the coach was someone I didn’t know. It was not knowing every little thing about a sport that made me doubt if I was in the right place. I am a person that wants to be the best, no matter how hard that is to achieve. Therefore, not being the best at soccer almost made me want to give up right there. If not for my teammates giving me the support I needed from being absolutely miserable at soccer, I wouldn’t have been able to give better. The seniors were amazing leaders that encouraged me every day. The doubt about joining soccer was almost pushed to the back of my mind until I began to think about our first game. I didn’t even know how many players were on the field at one time. The fear of being judged once again overwhelmed me, but our coach, Coach Mitchell, was the perfect coach I needed. She valued hard work over excellence, unlike my former coach. Her acceptance motivated me to play for her and my teammates. I finally realized that winning wasn’t the most important thing about playing a sport. The most important thing was having the type of teammates that would do anything for one another.

Joining soccer is a risk I’m glad I pursued. We are about to begin our season and I’m optimistic about our success. While I am optimistic, I am also grateful for being welcomed onto a team that I joined just last year. I am currently a senior captain, and that responsibility is an honor I plan to fulfill to the best of my ability. The growth of who I am as a person as well as an athlete would not have happened if I hadn’t taken that chance junior year. The impact of joining a new team, a new family, has been a positive one that I don’t regret for a second. I have gained new friendships as well as a close relationship with a coach that I didn’t previously have. It has allowed me to see the values of trying something new and has propelled me to not fear the unfamiliar. I am now able to look at a situation and think of only the positive outcomes. I no longer leave a foot behind on the ledge in case I need to turn around but rather jump in with both feet to face it head on.


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Taking a risk