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

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     “What are you doing when no one is watching?” my coach asked our basketball team the last day of school. He didn’t want us loafing on the couch all summer eating potato chips. He was encouraging us to come to the gym to shoot, run, lift, and become better athletes. Coach was telling us that if we worked hard during the off-season, it would pay off.

Although my coach asked our basketball team this question, it actually applies to everything I do. Cross country is not my favorite sport. I’d rather go to the dentist and have my teeth pulled than run cross country. But, to play basketball, Coach requires us to run at least three cross-country meets. This way we get in shape and push ourselves year-round, not just during basketball season.

While most teams wait until October to begin practices, we have already started and Coach is already pushing us. Waiting for October would waste two perfectly good months. By October, practice doesn’t end until 5:30. Every day we run three and a half miles, then we lift for 20 minutes, and last but certainly not least, we shoot and play basketball. Like every 16-year-old, I’d rather be home at 3 p.m., but what good would that do in the long run? Going home isn’t going to get us to “The Big House” in March.

During the summer, Coach opens the gym every morning so we can work on improving even when no one’s watching. I only missed four days all summer and the hours I put in seem to be paying off. My shot has improved 110 percent, which has given me more confidence. Coach was exactly right - working hard, even when no one’s watching, has given me results I could have only dreamed of.

Coach spends most of his summer at the gym helping us. He also gives up every Saturday for cross country meets and Friday nights for basketball games. If Coach weren’t willing to give his time, we wouldn’t be able to perform to our best ability. If Coach weren’t working just as hard when no one was watching, then we wouldn’t have the success.

Since Coach gave us his “When no one’s watching” speech, I have had a totally different perspective. He made me realize it’s better to do everything with all my heart even when I think no one will notice or care, because the people I care about, and the people who care about me, are always watching and always care. As much as I like basketball, or dislike cross country, I’m glad my coach has taught me to work hard every day. There is no greater feeling than the one I get when I see the result from working hard.

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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