Words That Will Forever Shape Me

By , Olathe, KS
I have always been the kind of person to freak out and become really nervous leading up to any important event. In the midst of any tough situation, I think of these words to motivate me to persevere to the end. The thought running through my head gives me discipline and comfort at the same time.

Kansas State cup is the last soccer tournament of the season. You have to qualify to play in state cup, and you can only advance with a win. By winning state cup you advance to regionals, and you also gain respect and become known by other teams. It was June 2010 during a state cup practice when my soccer coach, Melanie Benson, spoke these words to my team and me. It had been a fairly good practice, but there was an uncomfortable ease in the air. Our first round of state cup would be starting later that week, an opportunity that only a select few teams were given. Towards the end of practice, Melanie sat us down in a circle and gave us time to talk as a team before she stepped in and said anything. The mood was pretty split. There was a mixture of nerves and excitement. We sat together and talked about how we wanted to play and how we wanted to represent our team at state. We all agreed that the most important thing that we needed to do was to play our hardest, especially since this could potentially be our only state game. We decided that we were going to play our hardest until the referee blew his whistle and called the game.

In our soccer season, Melanie has given us numerous pep talks, so there really wasn’t more she could tell us without repeating herself. Melanie walked into the center of our team circle and simply, but effectively, said “leave it all on the field”. She told us she wanted us to play hard and take the game seriously, but she also wanted us to have fun and enjoy ourselves. Just being at state cup was a reward in itself. Melanie dismissed us for the night and left us alone again. We huddled up and broke if off, a ritual that we perform after every practice and game.

State cup may be the only opportunity that I will get to play at state level, so it was crucial that I played the best that I can. I had nothing to lose. During warm-ups of the first round, my usual pre-game jitters came upon me, but at a force harder than usual. When I stepped onto the field I let go of my emotions outside of the game. I didn’t let anything affect me. I thought of the phrase “leave it all on the field” in my head when I would get frustrated with the way I was playing. It would help me calm down and refocus on the game. We ended up losing 1-0 in our first round, but it was one of my best games I ever played, so I’m proud of this game, even though we lost.

When Olathe South soccer tryouts were around the corner, my usual nerved hit me like clockwork. The night before tryouts, I sat in bed reflecting on my time during state cup. I thought about how I was able to take control of my nerves and emotions and use them to fuel my intensity. I wanted to do the same for soccer tryouts. I set my goal of making junior varsity, and I successfully completed that goal with the help of the phrase “leave it all on the field”.

The words “leave it all on the field” have helped me take nothing for granted. If I really want something, I have to work hard for it and never give up. If I know I’ve truly worked my hardest, I’ll always feel accomplished with the outcome of any situation. Being a superstitious person, whenever anything complicated comes across my path in life, I think of the words Melanie Benson gave me during soccer practice.





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