This December, Advanced Composition students studied, wrote, and recorded audio essays. Students wrote and recorded their own "This I Believe" essays inspired by the weekly This I Believe Podcast. While we're publishing the text of each essay below, we strongly encourage you to listen to each student's audio essay for a more intimate experience.
“One, two, three, four, five!” The ref counted aloud. I was on my back, counting the lights. I was struggling to regain my position. The ref gave the kid on top of me his back points. My opponent sunk his reverse half deeper, and turned both of my shoulders to the mat. The ref slammed his hand against the mat, and blew his whistle. My assailant rose up off of me, and returned to the center of the mat. The ref raised my opponent’s hand up high. I looked down, completely ashamed of myself. Even though I was just a freshman, with no experience in the sport, I was very disappointed. I had just experienced what, in my opinion was the worst feeling on this Earth. Wrestling for me became increasingly frustrating, and I didn’t know what to do with myself. I considered quitting the sport, and moving on. But I understood one thing: If I were to quit wrestling, I would surely never have to face the regret and disappointment associated with losing so thoroughly, but if I stuck with the sport, I might be granted the chance at achieving a greater glory, and possibly the greatest feeling on Earth: Having one’s hand raised over another’s in victory. This loss was particularly devastating to me, and afterwards, I embarked a blind and single minded journey towards becoming a more successful wrestler.
By my junior year, I was ready to compete on a higher level. I had gained the basic skills and strength I needed in the sport to be a varsity starter. My season got off to a bumpy start, and my coach explained something very important to me. He told me that I wasn’t used to my body, and although I was strong, I didn’t have the thorough technique necessary to fulfill my potential. He described my ability to wrestle as somewhat hollow. I was trying so hard to be strong enough that I had lost some of the technique which is so essential to winning.
I don’t wrestle because I am good, and I can tell you that I am most certainly not amazing at the sport. I could be defined as an average wrestler. I wouldn’t be able to compete at the division one or two levels in college; I might have a chance at being okay wrestling for a division three school. I wrestle because of the values that the sport has instilled in me. From my experiences on the mat, I have learned to never give up, no matter what. Wrestling has taught me not to fear adversity, but to embrace it. Many people, after facing devastating failure, make large and unilateral changes within themselves for fear of ever facing such a failure again. People can make over corrections, and lose sight not only of what is important to them, but also what is inside of them. Just as my coach explained that I was a hollow wrestler, I also became a hollow person. I was more concerned about winning matches and the more superficial aspects of life than I was about my family, my friends, or my own well-being. I was becoming a selfish person. An over correction such as the one I struggled to deal with can quickly overwhelm and grow into a negative characteristic, such as being selfish, which defines a person. Avoiding this can be relatively simple. It is our goals which define us, and if a goal is selfish or single-minded, then it will lead a person to become selfish and single-minded. I believe that sometimes, a person can lose a part of themselves in the process of over pursuing a single-minded goal or dream.