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Never Quitting This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     After winning a big game, athletes are often asked how they attained that success. Most say their achievement is the result of grueling hard work and intense practice. Usually athletes say how hard it is to win the big games. At the opposite end of the spectrum, however, is the fact that losing the big game, or, in my case, all the games, can be even tougher.

From the spectators’ point of view, last year’s basketball season for my high school team was nothing short of an embarrassment. And while

0 and 20 is certainly nothing to be proud of, that season had a bigger impact on me than any other, and probably more than any season since.

As a team captain, I knew it probably wouldn’t be the easiest year, but did I ever think we would lose every game? Of course not. Since six of our top players had graduated, it was clear that we were a young team who would struggle. The struggle began earlier than expected, though, as our team’s starting center was suspended for the season, and two key members decided to quit after two weeks. At some point, quitting probably passed through every player’s mind, but, in the end, we all stuck it out, vowing to work even harder.

During the first half of the season, every player tried his hardest every minute he was out there. Most counted us out of games, and in hindsight they were right, but we never gave up on ourselves. There came a time, though, when it all began to feel hopeless.

Then it even started to feel like our own coach had given up on us. Personally, I felt like it was no longer worth giving my all. I thought, If even the coach doesn’t believe in us, why should I? But just as my hope began to fade, a teammate called a meeting. He said, “Nobody thinks we’re going to win, and heck, we may not, but, as teammates and friends, we owe it to each other to give it our all every game.”

Sure, it was a little cliché, but it was that moment that taught me how to be a leader. It hit me then that I may have been a captain, but I, like others in my position, certainly didn’t deserve the role. As a leader you can never quit on the team who looks up to you. It is one thing to be named captain and feel great and go through the motions, but it is quite another to be a real captain and make sure everyone works to their potential all the time.

Lucky for me, I have another season as captain. I watched a genuine leader in action and I will try to follow his example, whether in victory or defeat.

I am sure it is great to go through high school without losing and bringing home awards. But in all honesty, I relish the fact that my team lost every game last year. It may not help me to become a better basketball player, but it already has made me a better leader, and person.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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This article has 2 comments. Post your own!

DellsBallas said...
Dec. 21, 2009 at 1:56 pm:
UMMM OK? I GUESS I HAVE TO HAVE 10 CHARACTORS
 
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holmes#4 said...
Jan. 5, 2009 at 3:32 pm:
this was really good and i like the fact that you can relish after having a 0-20 season.
 
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