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College Essay

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I stopped and took a breath. The cheers and chants of the crowd slowly drifted until they dulled next to the pounding of my heart and the racing thoughts in my head. A conventional story was in action: bottom of the seventh, two outs, down by one run, tying run on second base. It was all up to me, a varsity rookie.
As I stepped up to the plate, an act I’ve performed hundreds of times since I was eight years old, I calmed my fears and nerves and focused on the challenge ahead. The pitcher was set. Strike one blew past me and my hands gripped tighter around the bat in anticipation. As I stepped out of the box, I took another deep breath, a trick taught to me by my father in order to keep my nerves in control. The pitcher delivered the next pitch and I got closer, foul ball. I can do this, I thought to myself. The third pitch is ball one; I am granted time to breathe. Pitch four; I am right on it as I tip the ball barely foul. With two strikes on me, the pitcher released her fifth pitch, and I put every ounce of might into my swing. A fraction of a second later, I released my breath when I saw where the ball had gone; into the catcher’s glove.

Strike three. We lost the Sectional Championship.

This profound experience happened when I was only a sophomore, my first year playing softball at a varsity level. I can’t describe the faces of the seniors on the team who, unlike me, would never play another high school softball game for the rest of their lives, and I could sense the disappointment. I then looked toward the freshman, which was where I was exactly one year ago, and I slipped again into that familiar mindset and remembered how much I looked up to the varsity girls, and I weighed my options. Either I put my head down and let this one moment defeat me, or I use it to my advantage in becoming a better softball player for the next season.
In that moment, I chose my second option, and from then on, I chose to take advantage of my mistakes in every other dilemma I would face in my life. Now, two years later, I am the captain and leader of that same softball team, and I use my experience to help drive the younger girls to work even harder to overshadow their mistakes with accomplishments. My experience also taught me that as a leader and a role model, I must always stay positive and not dwell on my mistakes in order to help others. We can choose either to let setbacks in life defeat us, or to defeat them ourselves, and that choice can define us as who we will be for the rest of our lives.





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