A Sacrifice This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

By , Brick, NJ
When I look in the mirror, I don’t see myself. Instead I see a person that I could’ve been, if I had chosen a different road to go down. No, I am not talking about any one major event that happened in my life. However, sometimes the simplest moments in life are the moments that can change the path you decide to take forever. Have you ever wondered what your life would be like if you had chosen not to care? If you would be just an ounce happier, if you chose not to burden yourself with the high expectations of being successful? It’s a simple question, but sometimes the answer lingers on the tip of my tongue and just sort of rolls around before I can form the words to it.

I’ve played soccer as long as I can remember. It’s a family thing – started from the brilliant talents of my older sister. She was the best of the best, and played for a state ranked team and was captain of the varsity girl’s soccer team in high school. From an early age it became apparent to my parents and everyone else that I had inherited the same natural talents. I lived and breathed the sport. It became a passion, something that I took pride in and had a promising future for.

When I entered high school, my perspective on everything changed. I soon learned that a natural talent can only get you so far. My abilities were satisfactory, but as I looked around at all of the older girls, I could see that had all of the knowledge and experience that I had lacked. I was not used to the structured training, and I did not like it one bit. My anxiety rate went up, and the sport that I had loved to play became a nightmare for me. I quivered and shook anxiously on the sidelines before each game, a complete anxious wreck. My intense anxiety took over my abilities, and my passion for the game. After a year, I started to realize that soccer was not a commitment that I wanted to make anymore. I would be much happier without the pressure from my parents to be a soccer superstar, but I knew that I could not quit. The idea was simply unfathomable.

The passion that I used to have for the sport had dwindled. I picked up the soccer ball one day in a friend’s backyard, and started kicking it around only to realize the real reason for my misery. I was simply miserable playing for a team, but the relaxation of kicking the ball around without the stress on my shoulders made me remember the way I used to feel about soccer. When it used to be a therapeutic release, rather than an anxiety ridden nightmare. It makes me even more depressed to think about the way my life used to be compared the way it is now. Maybe if I had quit early on, I would not be facing the stress that I feel every day, and would not have to feel the burden of attempting and failing to make my parents pride year after year. Now, I am in way too deep, and in no way will I be able to get out. This is the path I have chosen, and my happiness has suffered. I am past the point of contemplating it, but am now starting to deal with the fact that my life may never have the same happiness it used to. This is the way it is, and it isn’t going to change.





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