Believing in Yourself

February 17, 2012
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One small pebble thrown into a huge lake can make many new and uniquely different ripples. Everyone gets thrown into something bigger and bigger as time moves on. Each pebble has a different shape, size, and color to create a beautiful mosaic on the lake’s already unique floor. No two pebbles are ever alike but somehow it all gets put together perfectly. When a pebble gets taken out by its owners, there is a small opening, waiting for it to return. The pebbles around it miss it and beg for it to return to its true home until it gets replaced by a new pebble. This is how it is in high school.

When I got thrown into high school I had aspirations to make my ripples by representing my school in sports. The first season of sports is fall. Volleyball is the sport I had in mind for the fall. I beat out over 60 girls for a spot on the team of 12. Everything went smoothly during those tryouts. Not too nerve wrecking. There was an obvious line between experienced and inexperienced players and thankfully I was on the better side. Once on the team, we went undefeated in league play and placed within the top two in all of our tournaments.

As soon as the volleyball season was over and the cold winter weather came in a new sense of nervousness came with it. I had the goal of being on the school’s basketball team for the winter season. I had played competitive volleyball but never basketball. Thoughts raced across my mind daily about my chances. My self-esteem slowly crawled downward until I started to practice again, going out into the eerie weather in my sweats with my ball. It had been months. But I realized I needed to get back into the flow of things. My main focus had been volleyball. Becoming the best at what I was doing at the time. Academics consumed all of the free time I had. But I played until my arms went tired when I could, throwing up hundreds of shots from both sides of the key. I made basketball my new big priority.

Finally tryouts rolled around. I was ready, mentally and physically. Walking into the cold gym brought back those annoying butterflies that seem impossible to shake off. My mom whispered “Good luck. You can do it.” as she walked back into the rain, leaving me to fend for myself. I tensed up as I turned in my ticket to play and grabbed a ball to start shooting. Seeing all the upperclassmen and my peers didn’t help. There were so many girls trying out. Most wore nighthawk basketball practice apparel. I had none. I doubted myself as the warm up progressed. Once we got into the actual tryouts I begin to believe in myself little by little. Towards the end, the coaches started pulling people over to tell them that they wouldn’t be playing for the nighthawks this year.

But not me! I had made it past day one! The next tryout was the last one. Only one more day to prove I was a worthy player. The time came and I was ready this time. I had seen the competition and some of it had already been eliminated. It was like a video game. Playing with your best moves, trying to stay alive and not get taken out by your competition. When I walked in to the gym, those butterflies managed to find a way back into me. It was the faces of the coaches, the faces of the other players, and the faces of the burnt orange balls. All staring back at me, wondering what I am going to do today to make myself stand out and be the sporty pebble that people know me as.

At the end of practice, just as they did yesterday, Coaches started pulling girls over saying they just aren’t quite there yet. And for the second time, I wasn’t one of those girls! The next tryout was considered the first practice of the season. They did assure us though that it did not mean in any way that we had made it on the team. Varsity was all picked out and ready to go but they were still putting the final touches on junior varsity. More cutting and hiring still had to be done.

I showed up to what had to be the last tryouts. I repeatedly told myself that this was the day to leave it all on the court. To go my hardest. To leave all my competitors in the dust. The JV coach came over to me and told me that she needed to talk to me after practice. I began to shake. They were telling the people who were going to get cut. I was going to get cut. It was obvious. This is what they always did before a cut was to be made. A tear slid out as I began to realize that my dream was crushed without them having to even tell me.

“Hello girls, we brought you back here so that we could talk to you privately. We want you guys to come back tomorrow because we need to see you playing one more time. We have been making the final cuts and there are only a few spots left so we want to make the best choice. You can go back now. Thank you.” My dream was saved. I could do it! One more day.

Today was the final test. Me against six other girls trying to fill the last three positions. Today was the actual day to do all I could. And I guess that is what it takes, because I made the team that day. Believing in myself is all that I had to do to make my goal come true. Without that I would have not made the team. When the coach told me I made the team, she said she loves the confidence I radiate on the court. Believing made it all possible.

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