I'm looking to get some feedback on one of my essays from the Common Application. It is Prompt #2.
Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what
lessons did you learn?
“You’re just not big enough.”
My stomach turned. My heart felt like it weighed three hundred pounds and my throat was so dry, I felt like I could swallow nails. I was dizzy sitting in my chair in the locker room as three baseball coaches stared down at a five-foot-three freshman who dreamed of making the high school baseball team.
The room reeked of sunflower seeds and tobacco. Dirt stains covered the floors from the constant of cleats walking all over, and banners of past district championships hung on the walls. Three days of baseball tryouts would determine if my dream of playing big time high school baseball would come true. I had practiced for months prior for these three days, only to find out that after one day, my fate was sealed as the coaches sat me down after practice.
“You just don’t have the bat power or arm strength to be able to make it on our team this year. I’m sorry.”
I had failed to make the team, but I was not going to let it stop me. My rule during any failure is to not dwell on it too long. I have, what I like to call, a 48 hour rule. For 48 hours after a disappointing incident, I analyze it, figure out what happened, why it happened and even feel sorry for myself. After 48 hours – no more thinking about it. It’s time to move on and figure out plan B.
My plan B, was something more challenging and more demanding of physical ability. I wanted to try and make the football team instead, since my brother was a senior on the team. I was hurt by the baseball coach’s words, and I wanted to prove something. Not to him, but mainly for myself. I signed up for weights classes and joined football workouts in the offseason.
I didn’t need to tryout, because the football team doesn’t have tryouts. Usually two weeks into the season, so many kids would just end up quitting because football can be such a difficult commitment both physically and mentally. I knew that if I would stay committed, I could surprise myself with the things I could do, and I did just that.
I played my sophomore and junior seasons on the junior varsity team and then made the varsity team my senior year starting every game at wide receiver and cornerback. Each summer I worked out at parks and at the school weight room with the disappointing baseball tryout in the back of my mind daily. Not many days of high school did I not let the failed tryout drive me to be a better student and a better athlete. I finished my senior season in football getting honorable mention honors and stepped up as a leader to the underclassmen.
At the time of being cut from baseball, I felt like things wouldn’t get better. I was so consumed with being a baseball player that it threw my confidence a curveball. I have since learned that some failures happen for a reason. It made me a better student-athlete. It pushed me to be successful and to have difficult goals to achieve. I would not change what happened my freshman year in high school for anything. It made me a better person.
Late in my senior year, I actually ran into the baseball coach. He never mentioned the day he cut me, but we talked about the football season and how I did in track and field and he commended about how much of a solid athlete I am and that he wished I had continued in baseball. I am a firm believer that not all failures are negative, and that perseverance builds character, and it’s hard to stop someone who doesn’t give up.