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A Passion Never Known This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

My best friend in the entire world is Eric Matthews. Growing up I never had a really good friend other than my siblings, but everyone knows that brothers and sisters don’t count as true, unadulterated, unbiased peers. Eric Matthews, I supposed you could say, is like a brother to me. He’s a little younger, a little shorter, a little smaller (though not by much). And yet, in another sense, he’s a strange, unorthodox mentor of sorts. You see, Eric Matthews has passion.

When we hear that word, we think of going beyond. The extreme that sets stars ablaze, saves universes, and causes humans to carry out an incredible potential that would seem otherwise implausible. Passion is something that is deep rooted in the human soul, and, when applied correctly, bursts through in whatever that individual does. More likely than not, it embodies one or two attributes of a person that they excel at. But others, like Eric Matthews, allow their passion to be one that is general and affects everything they do, whether it is as simple as breathing, or as complex as ruling the world.

That’s where Eric Matthews and I differ. You see, I have always been a person who was impressed by everything, but in a facet perhaps slightly different than most. Instead of being amazed by the abilities of a person, I picture in my head myself doing what they can. It creates a sort of utopian mental world in which I can comfortably dwell for long periods of time, especially when the monotony of life rears its unwelcome head. The only problem with my dreaming, however, is that it never goes beyond just that: a dream. What’s the use of setting goals if we never even remotely attempt to achieve them?

I’ve never had a passion. Sure, I like to write, but words never filled my soul and encompassed everything I do. I never “go hard” when I play basketball, or even really have fun for that matter. I enjoy video games, biking, swimming, philosophy, reading, and numerous other activities, but none of them ever consumed me and made me pursue them with a ridiculous passion.

My friend Eric Matthews is in a completely different boat. For a time he was trying out for a swim team, and every day after practice would complain about how tired his legs were from the rigorous exercises they had to do. Could one conclude that he wasn’t enjoying everything about they swim team? Absolutely. But one thing that no one could deny was his passion for it. Even through the pain, the missing out on parties, the eventual cut from the team, he still had a consuming passion that made him try even harder the next year.

We used to joke that he was “The Master of Everything”; in a sense, the idea was completely a falsity. Upon bragging about his skateboarding skills, he would proceed to demonstrate how he could barely stand on a skateboard without falling off. But that didn’t matter. Because in the partially-warped and partially-impassionated mind of Eric Matthews, the fall was not a failure, but merely an incentive to do it again and again and again until he could finally fulfill his boast in honesty. His passion became for something that he wasn’t even good at, and most of the time drove him to reach heights that others wouldn’t dream of in an area that they had rejected under the pretense that “they weren’t good at it.”

At my brother’s birthday party, a couple of friends, including Eric Matthews, went out into the back yard to play a game of football. I was the designated quarterback because I insisted that I was a butterfingers when it came to receiving. I saw flat out in that game the difference between Eric Matthews and me. When I didn’t feel like I had the perfect throw lined up, I didn’t even try to make a Hail Mary in dread that I would fail. Gone was any fifty-fifty chance of success. All I saw was the fifty percent chance of fail. But then something caught my eye. On numerous plays, I would spot Eric Matthews heading for the end zone, a dangerous glean in his eye that spelled “I the Beast” in every way, shape, and form. His passion was so intense that he forced impossible throws from me, which, in turn, resulted in impossible catches by him in the very corner or edge of the end zone. In this case, his passion not only drove him to play better than anyone would think possible, but it also caused me to join in and take risks that I normally wouldn’t.

It almost seems immature to use such trite anecdotes to illustrate my point, yet I think there is an important lesson in each. I have been greatly affected by Eric Matthews. Regardless of how many times he falls down, I can’t laugh, because I know that he’ll just prove me wrong by standing back up and dominating again. I want a passion like that, and not just in one area of my life. I want a passion like Eric Matthews. One that will consume me and take me beyond probability to a realm of accomplishing the impossible.

That’s the kind of passion I’ve never known. Except in Eric Matthews.



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