Never Had I Heard of the Story...

April 23, 2008
By
Never had I heard the story of the ant and the grasshopper until my AP European History teacher used it as a way to explain events in European history. The story goes that all summer long the ant spent his time gathering food and preparing for winter while the grasshopper spent its time playing. The ant warned the grasshopper to get to work but the grasshopper ignored the ant and kept playing. Soon, winter came and the grasshopper hadn’t prepared at all. When it asked the ant for help the ant turned him away saying that he should have listened. Needless to say, the grasshopper did not live to see another spring…

During the varsity swim season I had one goal and one goal only and that was to take the 500 freestyle record. I was six seconds away and although that is a lot in swimming, I was too determined to give up. I did anything and everything I could to make sure that record would be mine. During the spring, I swam when normally I would have taken that time and used it as a break for swimming. Over the summer, I started running in a group called road gang and continued swimming on most days. When varsity season did begin, I was nothing less than pumped for the season.

Every night at practice I worked as hard as I could and started setting paces for myself that would be useful when it was finally time to swim the 500 at sectionals. At meets, I tried to develop the positive mentality that would be useful at sectionals.

Like my coach repeatedly told us, the twelve weeks before sectionals did go by fast and soon I found myself standing behind the blocks mentally preparing for the 500. I was so positive that I was going to get that record that I was just about the only person on my team who actually wanted to swim that day. I was not prepared to see the time on the board when I finished my race. It was four seconds off the record. I couldn’t help but let out a grunt of frustration before climbing out of the pool.

Everyone tried to reassure me after my race that everything was going to be okay and that I had a second chance at Finals. I tried listening, tried to tell myself that I still had a chance of getting that record but I guess my body felt differently because at Finals, I went slower than I did the previous day and I was extremely upset and everyone around me knew it. All around people were hugging me and telling me it was okay but to me it wasn’t and a few tears trickled down my face. The waterfall started when I got home that night and let my thoughts get to me. I couldn’t understand how I could work so hard and then have an outcome that was horrible or in other words I couldn’t understand how I acted like the ant but had the outcome of the grasshopper.

A few months after when I was with my coach, he told me that sometimes things go wrong for no reason. You can’t have a good day without a bad one and all of the best athletes out there have had their bad days. You can’t dwell on the fact that you did have a bad day because that can hurt your chances of having a good one the next time around. It was hard for me to listen to what he said because the pain of that day still haunted me but I listened and I learned and I understood and I thought…. Wouldn’t it be ironic if it were the ant that died instead of the grasshopper?





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