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Conquer Through Character This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

By , Costa Mesa, CA
On all fours, I fell to the ground. My legs were exasperated to the point where I felt a strange tingling sensation, and they became numb. The sun’s gaze scorched my skin, and the touch of turf smoldered my forearms and lacerated the palms of my hands; they were a crimson red left with the fresh imprint of ground rubber. My chest was constricted by the pads on my shoulders, as though it could no longer sustain my lungs from bursting and pouring out. The blood in my head was pulsating through my temples at a pace faster than I had ever felt, and the sweat of my brow slowly edged down the cheek of my face.
I thought I was going to die.
Looking back on this experience, I wondered why I ever joined football. I am not the biggest or the most athletic person, so I do not receive a lot of playing time. My friends would all ask me why I did not just quit, and spend more time hanging out with friends. I would usually just shrug them off and make up some joke; however, now I am actually wondering why I stayed in football.
One thing I do know is that I did not stay in football for myself, but rather for my teammates. In fact, I rarely referred to them as my ‘teammates,’ but rather as my ‘brothers.’ The reason I refer to them as brothers is because of the bonds we created. We all endured the same heat, and we all endured the same pain I described earlier. One team, one heartbeat.
I wanted to be a part of something larger than myself. This program was not for everyone, as that only those who possessed true devotion and commitment could go through it. In my freshman year of high school, there were about a hundred freshman football players, all thinking they were the next big thing. However, now there are only about twenty seniors left in our class, with only about ten of them going through the program for the entire four years.
Because of football, I am now a much more passionate and persistent person who will not back down from any challenge presented before me, no matter how great or small. I can now go through life with a sense of optimism, knowing that whatever life throws my way, I can rise above it and conquer it. My character has ascended to new levels, and I can now accomplish anything I set my mind to.





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