- Category: Personal Statement
For anybody who is talented and ever passionate about being the best at something, whether it is in sports, music, athletics, theater, art or any other activity, it is a painful experience to come face to face with someone who is better than you. This is an experience I have lived in college soccer.
While I was never a great athlete, I enjoyed moments of success as a soccer player in high school, mostly because I am 6'9” tall. On three occasions during my junior seasons, my high school soccer team qualified for the regional championships. At the beginning of my senior season, I was named the school's player of the year. I was again named the regional player of the year towards the end of my senior season. Needless to say, I had incredible excitement about how my soccer career might unfold in college. I received several offers from small colleges and universities in California. I was finally lured by a soccer scholarship from the Testamont College, based in California.
Soon after arriving at the college, I realized that it was not the best place for me despite the blessing of a fully-funded scholarship. I yearned for more competitiveness, an environment that would challenge me personally and as a student. As I considered which colleges would fulfill my dreams both academically and talent-wise, I turned to Seaton College. It is located a few miles from my home town and is known for its strong sports programs as well as rigorous academic stature.
It was exactly the college I was looking for. Moreover, Seaton College's center-forward had suffered a severe injury on the knee and decided to quit soccer indefinitely. It is at this point that I made up my mind to attend the Seaton College. At the end of my freshman year, I met the Seaton College coaching staff who assured that I would be their starting center-back the following season. I decided to take a job at the college's sports facility during the summer so as to train every day after work. I spent countless hours over the months lifting weights, running on the track, and sharpening my shooting and dribbling skills. By early-August, I was in the best physical condition and ready to kick-off the new soccer season. Then something that would greatly affect my college soccer career over the next two years happened.
I was busy on the treadmill in the gym when I looked up to see a familiar person standing next to me. It was Tom, the center-forward who had decided to quit football because of knee injury. He had lost more than twenty five pounds over the summer and was on anti-inflammatory pain medication. At once I knew he had not given up playing soccer and would be ready to play the next season.
I felt a little disappointed. I was gripped by uncertainty as the new season approached. Tom's return made me feel that my had work all this time had been for nothing. However, I realized I had improved a lot during our pre-season practices. I knew I was ready to compete with Tom for the starting position. I was disappointed. I never got the chance to challenge Tom. I was relegated to the reserve team from day one. This crushed me inside. While I trained daily for over three hours, Tom could only go for twenty minutes or less because of his knee. Even though his talent irrefutable, I felt it was a waste of time to train daily only to have a teammate who never practiced start all the games.
At the beginning of the season, Tom averaged two goals and one assist per game. He proceeded in the same fashion for the rest of the season. He continued to get the public recognition during the games while I trained for three hours on a daily basis. By the end of the season, Tom had scored thirty five goals and averaged at three goals and two assists per game. He was named the national young player of the year. On the other hand, I had only scored twelve goals and no assist.
As the following season began, I thought of quitting soccer altogether. I felt that I was not ready to train so hard only to watch someone else get all the glory. When I was finally selected to play in the first weeks of the new season, I realized that I was enjoying the game not for the rewards but for the love I had for the sport and working with others as a team. The environment became more enjoyable. I realized that while I still wanted to have more minutes to play, it was of less importance to me now. As I was still learning, Tom again won more accolades, receiving the national soccer team call-up.
Tom will graduate this spring. I will hopefully be the starting center-forward for Seaton College men's soccer team next season. This is however, not as important to me as it was before. I now appreciate that more than the honor of glory and awards, soccer has taught me about myself. I have learned the importance of being in competitive environments even if am not the most talented. My soccer experience has also taught me to work as a team towards a common goal and to enjoy intense preparation. I have learned to put aside personal rewards and recognition in such situations.
Above all, I have learned to remain persistent when faced with disappointments. These are life lessons I hope to apply in a career as an editor in a leading news agency. The need to work towards a common goal as a team, the intense preparation, and the ability to perform without expecting personal rewards are the lessons I have learned from soccer over the past two years. I want to apply these to my life and editorial career.