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Suicides: Life Lessons
I hear the shrill cry of a whistle and come out of my crouch, taking my place in line for suicides. First line, second line, third line, and I fold back into my crouch at the side of the field, emptying the contents of my stomach once again. Another whistle, run back to the line and sprint to the designated spots, then back to the side of the field. I puke, I run, puke, run, like clockwork, just substitute the chime of a clock for the shriek of a whistle.
Not once does it cross my mind to stop participating in practice. I have been conditioned to push through physical and mental hurdles. A little regurgitation of food is something to get through, not succumb to. Coach says, “Puke if you have to, you’ll feel better after.” Sickness does not qualify as a legitimate excuse to not practice. The only event my coach considers worthy enough to ditch practice over is death. Nothing less is acceptable.
Coach is former military and has the drill sergeant role down pat. The team is slightly fearful of Coach because she is extremely unpredictable and sees everything. The slightest mistake is treated as if it had cost us a championship game and sprints are added to conditioning at the end of practice as a result.
Although Coach was extremely hard on us and expected perfection, her method of attack in achieving that goal actually succeeded. Each member of the team busted their butt and gave everything they had to all that we did at every practice. This is because there are always more running drills to endure and always someone anxiously waiting to take our position on the field. If we valued our starting role in the games, we fought to keep it.
As it turns out, this battlefield could be construed as a life lesson, which is how I choose to view it because otherwise there was no reason to kill myself, metaphorically speaking, over a sport. Constantly pushing, never tolerating less than the best I know I can personally accomplish has become a trait I learned and adopted over my long years of playing soccer that applies to all situations.
College is my new field, and I am my own drill sergeant. I considered attending an Ivy League school on the East Coast for quite a while, until the time came to actually apply and commit. I wanted the Ivy League because it is prestigious and supposedly challenging beyond measure. At least, that’s what I thought I wanted.
However, when the time came, I realized that I didn’t want to leave home. Family is extremely important to me and I could not imagine being across the country from my support system.
So I substituted the next best thing, and ended up here, Barrett, the Honors College at Arizona State University. While some of my peers decided to take electives their first semester of college, I chose to take the honors version of graduation requirements. I have become my own harshest critic. I am detail oriented and attempt to order everything I do, school-wise at least, into its proper slot.
The knee-jerk reaction to sprint as fast as my legs will allow to the next line is still engrained in my muscle memory. I don’t wait for life to pass me by; I go out and conquer my goals. I approach my homework assignments with the same zeal, zipping from task to task as if I were back on the soccer field listening for the chirp of Coach’s whistle. But it is no longer Coach’s whistle I jump to obey; it is my own, my own dedication and determination to finish all deeds with quality effort.
My commitment to soccer has translated into my life. It doesn’t matter whether the task is small or large; it has my full attention. I apply the same amount of energy to helping my sister finish her pre-calculus homework as I do to tackling my own assignments. Doing chores to relieve some of my mom’s stress is as worthy an accomplishment as finishing a set of suicides (sprints). It makes me happy to see that my hard work has an effect, that there is a reason behind it.
Believe it or not, there actually is a reason for running such a ridiculously large amount of suicides in soccer. The more running a team does, the more in shape that team is, the longer they will be able to play without needing a substitution out of the game, the more they will have the ability to outrun the opposition. Mental fitness is a huge component of physical fitness. Being mentally tough means a player possesses the talent to work through pain and discomfort to get the goal: physical fitness. The method to this madness can be applied to life as well. The harder I push myself to achieve good grades, the more likely it is I will graduate early, the better career I will have in the future. Just as on the soccer field, there is always someone willing to step into my role, competing, in this case, for the same job opportunity and I need to be able to outrun them. I need something to give me an edge over my opponent. Sprinting through sickness and working myself to the bone to reach my goals are okay because, overcoming difficulties only makes me stronger. It gives me that necessary component required to outshine the competition.