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The date was August 23, 2010 and I was suiting up for my first day of Oratory soccer camp. However I was not suiting up as an old friend of this game called soccer, but rather a stranger, completely unaware of the game. My exhaustion hit me as I sat at my kitchen table slipping my feet into my lightly worn cleats and buckling my shinguards. The previous night seemed like hell. I turned off my light at around ten o’clock and could barely get a wink of sleep. What was going through my mind was a movie reel of potential failures along with a plethora of unanswerable questions and statements like, “what happens if I stink? What happens if I don’t make the team? Clearly I am not capable of doing this, especially as a new player to the game.” This personal blockbuster played all night until I heard my alarm buzz. The fact of the matter was there was truly no need for my alarm because I was already up, thinking, wondering, worrying about how my first day would play out.

As I continued to lace up my boots I reminisced some of my prior “sports flops.” Over the summer I had practiced about three times a week with my friends. Every other day I was running, doing push-ups and sit ups, along with mentally preparing myself for the fateful day that lie ahead. I continued to think of my summer soccer adventures on the car ride to Oratory. As my contemplation proceeded, suddenly every little detail mattered. Every little missed pass,


missed tackle, and crappy shot stuck out in my mind like a thousand needles poking into the butt of an elephant. Would these things be what decided my fate?

Finally the car stopped. I swear my heart skipped two beats. Sure I was there, but was I ready? On that everlasting walk to the locker room the movie continued to reel, making me want to drop my stuff and run for the hills. But I couldn’t do it, what was I thinking? As I arrived to our brand new turf field, took my laps, stretched, and bantered with my friends, I knew it was time, I was ready, I was going to truly make something happen.

Next all I can remember is a blur. A soccer ball skidding across the turf. A goal. Running, exhaustion. And finally the greatest, my foot making perfect contact and blasting the ball up towards the heavens and out of my area. I had done my job, I had made my tackles, and in the end I think I played well. A cool breath of relief quickly came over me as the final whistle blew. Immediately I fell to the turf. I could barely stand I was so tired. This was due to the lack of sleep I received the night before along with the fact that I just played two hours of soccer. However my rest was well deserved.

As I sit here writing this essay I am currently a starting defender with the privilege and honor of being captain of the JV team. After that fateful day I just kept rolling. Each day playing better, faster, and smarter. This experience explains a multitude of inspirational and motivational messages. The most important being, hard work can get you anywhere. It does not matter how many obstacles may stand in your way, if you truly work hard enough, it is possible to

accomplish even the toughest challenges. See as I laced up my boots focusing on my mistakes, what I forgot about was that I had one true atomic weapon on my side, hard work. On this experience alone I have come to understand Ernest Hemingway’s words “I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.” You can in fact master your fate and maybe one day, you will become the captain your soul, but the only way to do that is to never give up and work the hardest you can no matter the circumstances.





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