It was a rainy March day. Tryouts were happening all week and day by day I worked harder to prove myself. Soccer was my only sport, and making the team meant everything. The last day of tryouts had arrived. Coach began calling each girl’s name one by one. He would tell us our fate, Junior Varsity (JV) or Varsity. Varsity meant playing with my friends and a level of play I desperately wanted to prove I had. As a junior, it is the team I am supposed to be a part of. I was not prepared for this day to end in tears.
“Alyssa,” coach called my name. “How do you feel about tryouts?” I honestly thought, looking back at my last two years, this year was my year. I explained to him how hard I had pushed myself to be a better athlete.
“Yeah, I can tell you are; but …” It was his “but” that made my stomach drop. He went on to tell me that he was having difficulty deciding which team to put me on – JV or Varsity.
Coach Sam said, “Well, as I finally make the decision I am gonna have you start on Junior Varsity because we need some very strong offensive players, but whenever we need you on Varsity for games you will be pulled up to play.”
I felt so embarrassed, heartbroken, twisted and sick to my stomach as I tried to hold in the tears. Coach went on to tell me I shouldn’t let this get to me. I was a good player, but the team had thirteen juniors. He wanted to split up the teams more evenly. An advantage I would have is more playing time, but I felt left out. Two other juniors would join me on JV. They felt uncomfortable, but not as devastated as I was. Even more painful was learning my twin sister, Karyssa, would be on varsity.
I felt self conscious as I went home and the teardrops came running down my face. The self doubt began, realizing I could have done better and showed more work ethic. I began asking myself if I should start from the bottom and work my way up? As I contemplated whether I could face myself leaving soccer, I realized I didn’t want to be a person who quits because of one failure. I soon found out that I would be the only junior who would play on JV, as the other two players quit the team.
Ultimately, I feel proud of my decision to stay committed to my team. I would eventually be pulled up to varsity half way through the season. I had to experience failure to see my potential for growth. I found resilience when things got difficult. I learned to never give up when my talent might not measure up. I am always a work in progress.
As a JV player, coach gave me the position of team captain. Being a leader pushed me to be a better role model, make decisions, be fair and show integrity. I found that one of the most important qualities to have is commitment. The entire experience has given me a different perspective. I now realize that even if you fail or lose there is no reason to give up. You still need to get back up. My mistakes set me up for growth, which helped myself and the team. I have learned to care less about what others think and more about my own personal growth. Feeling accomplished and passionate about achieving my goals, and being committed, never letting go of opportunities will set me up to be my personal best. Someone who is already worthy of being called loyal, dedicated, committed, dependable and hardworking.
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