The summer before my freshman year of high school, I joined my school’s girls water polo team. I really don’t remember why I actually chose this sport, but perhaps, as cheesy as it may sound, the sport chose me.
Compared to the upperclassmen on the team, I was really maladroit. Not knowing anything about the game and only possessing swim experience, I joined a small team of less than twenty girls for both our Varsity and Junior Varsity teams. This team was on the verge of becoming superannuated; I soon came to find that we were lacking in so many essential things, such as committed players, experience, and overall teamwork and effort. I like to think of our team as a young, “rag-tag” kind of group of people who you really wouldn’t imagine being together.
But as the season went by, I saw myself rapidly changing into the person I am now, all just in less than six months. I went from a quiet, shy little freshman into the strong, healthy, determined person I feel I am today. And how did this happen, you may ask? It was all from my teammates and coaches constantly pushing me to work hard and me striving to be better.
However, it wasn’t just me who grew from the effects of these new people in my life. The others who were also once quiet freshmen were now screaming and cheering at games and constantly giving everyone little pick-me-ups and applause for a job well done.
So from this team, or as I would really prefer to call it, our family, I have learned so much, and not just of the game of water polo. I have learned so many life lessons on leadership, friendship, and teamwork, just to name a few. And who says it stops there? This family is still growing, with our new season quickly approaching in just a few weeks.
Therefore, a sport really can change your life. And so this must be true: I get by with a little help from my friends. Practice is truly something I look forward to each and every day, even if it includes twenty head-up sprints or a grueling dry-land workout. Seeing my congenial friends—or should I say my sisters—every day and playing the sport I truly love is all I need.
Integrity. Passion. Hard Work.