College Essay

December 22, 2011
By Anonymous

Most of the advice I’ve been given about the college essay has been don’t write about extra curriculars, especially sports. That’s what everyone writes about, you won’t stand out. This is usually followed by choose something you’re passionate about. If it’s genuine, the admissions officers will know. I took these two pieces of advice and sat down at my computer. Minutes passed, then hours, and the only word I had to show for it was the title Diversity. I decided to clear my head by shooting baskets. I replayed the two pieces of advice in my mind and later realized why I had no ideas for my topic—it was impossible for me to follow both pieces of advice. I was going to have to break the rules.
If someone asked me what I’m passionate about, the response would be automatic—basketball. Basketball has taught me so much and woven itself into many aspects of my life. It has given me the confidence to be myself and has also taught me to appreciate the differences in others.
On the basketball court, everyone needs to work together. The team must function as one cohesive unit to be successful. Diversity among the players can influence this, even on a high school girls’ team from Wisconsin’s suburbia.
Every aspect of a person, whether good or bad, can be used as an advantage on the team. The outspoken girl is perfect for giving the pregame pep talk. A player may be arrogant, but that confidence not only helps her make the game winning shot, but also rubs off on the other players. I’m neither an outspoken nor an overly confident person. But on the court, for the first time I could be myself and knew I was not only respected for it, but needed. Having the confidence to be myself helped me appreciate the differences in others as well.
The importance of diversity became even more apparent through coaching. My first couple of weeks as a coach were overwhelming—ten middle school girls, each as different as the next in their abilities, personalities, and interests. Being fifth graders, they tried to hide their differences and act like one another as much as possible. I recognized their struggle to be their own people while trying to fit in. Basketball helped me have the confidence to overcome this fear, and I hoped with my help, it would do the same for them. I have made sure there’s room for every ability, personality, and interest on our team. Differences are not only respected, but celebrated. Over the past few years, these girls have grown into their own confident people who understand and respect each other’s differences. Helping them overcome the same struggle I did has been incredibly rewarding.
Playing and coaching basketball has helped me realize diversity isn’t a challenge we have to overcome, but a gift. It has allowed me to find myself and in turn further value the unique qualities of others.

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