Essay Topic too Cliche?

<p>I have what I believe is a really good topic for an essay, but I hear all the time that writing about sports is way overused and usually end up cliche. I was wondering if you guys think this essay could have some potential to stand out, or if I should try to find an area that is more "unique". (yes i realize i'm typing this in conversational language, I would make it sound much nicer if i actually wrote this essay)</p>

<p>So my first two year of high school I was a part of the tennis team, being JV both freshman and sophmore year. Our school is big, so making sports teams is always competitive, and our tennis team in particular is always strong from year to year. Our school doesn't allow juniors and seniors onto JV sports teams, so going into junior year I knew i would have to make the varsity team for tennis. I knew it would be tough, as only 3 seniors were leaving, which meant there were 3 open spots for the approx 10 or so rising juniors that were on JV. But tennis had always been a passion, and I was confident in my ability to make the varsity team. Long story short, I was the last person cut from the team, and i was devastated. </p>

<p>Now for the most part, I'm a really chill and happy guy. I don't let much get me down or angry, but getting cut from the tennis team really got to me, as tennis was such a large part of my life. Not only had i been taking tennis lessons for years, but i had many close friends on the team, plus my first two years I was on the team. I felt like there was a big emptiness in my life. Eventually through the support of other friends, I decided to take up Track & Field. The head track coach made an exception to let me join halfway through the season because i had tried out for another sport. By using the motivation of the failure i had experienced in a part of my life that i was so passionate about, I put enough effort into training and practice and found myself on the varsity track team, running in invitationals on the weekends. A part of our 4x800m relay, once i found myself on the varsity team, I was running around 2:05-2:07 for my splits for basically the whole season. At conference, I dropped 3 seconds off my personal best to run 2:02, which brought us from last place (8th) to 4th during my leg of the race. Then at sectionals, with our team not expecting to qualify for state, I ran a 1:58 in my split and our team qualified for state. We didn't end up qualifying for the final heat at state, but the experience was great nonetheless.</p>

<p>I would emphasize how I didn't let failure, particularly in an area so close to my heart, stop me from trying something new. I used the motivation to train harder than ever, and I honestly can say that all the emotion: anger, sadness, regret, shame etc from getting cut from the tennis team, was the driving factor to help me accomplish what i did. Sports are a huge part of my life, and I couldn't let tennis leave an empty void in my life. </p>

<p>If anyone bothered to read all that, do you guys think this could be developed into a unique essay? It's 100% from the heart, and while I realize certain parts may seem slightly cliche, it's all true and i'm hoping with an emphasis on how I took my failure and turned it into positive energy and motivation, I can make this essay distinguishable from all the essays centered around sports. I realize many of us participate in sports, but I can truly say athletics are a central part of my life and a deep passion, so i'm really hoping I can make this essay work, because it is 100% me.</p>

<p>Personally I think you have a very great idea for your college essay and I envy you as I have little to nothing that I can write about. </p>

<p>A great thing going for you is the fact that it is, as you say, "you" so getting all your thoughts onto paper should be very easy and should come out very fluid.</p>

<p>I'll give you my concerns though and they are just that, concerns. They are as followed:</p>

<p>Length may be an issue as the way I see it you have alot to say and may not be able to get all that you want into a space of around 500 words.
Also the fact is when reading this the fact that you "Failed" stood out. I understand that you are explaining your triumph afterwards but regardless you still "failed". </p>

<p>The first concern is entirely in your hands though I have a suggestion for the second. I'm not sure how you were planning on writing your essay but write with an informal tone and don't use the word "failed". That's a no no, instead use a sentence like this (just a suggestion):</p>

<p>"Although things didn't go my way with making the final cut, I didn't let that stop me from (insert whT you want to emphasis)" </p>

<p>Failure= Things not going my way</p>

<p>These are my suggestions and insights and nothing more. My word isn't set in stone and neither is anyone elses. Hope I helped and good luck and if you find some...you mind telling me where I can find some? Lol</p>

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I understand that you are explaining your triumph afterwards but regardless you still "failed".

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<p>There is absolutely nothing wrong with failure. We all fail, some of us several times a day at one thing or another. The point of a college essay is to add a human dimension to the process that lists of activities and accomplishments cannot. Certainly, admissions officers don't expect students to have come across every one of their accomplishments with no obstacles. Never is the road to significant accomplishment linear, and I find a hard time believing any track runner (or Grammy-winning musician, or national debater) made it without doubling back on themselves, without regrouping at square one.</p>

<p>What I would be wary of is focusing on the emotional aspect of your drive. I can certainly see how powerful emotions--anger, sadness--would prople you, but these emotions are temporal, and I'd suggest that you make sure to include your more rational side as well. Did you just run the times you did because you were welling up with anger, or did you use the lessons you'd learned from tennis to practice more effectively and improve over the course of the season?</p>

<p>Also, explain why the track coach let you on the team. From where I'm sitting, it sounds like it wasn't very difficult for you to scootch onto the team, but surely no coach just lets kids join as they please?</p>

<p>Long story short, I think there's a lot of potential in this essay. I love that, while it's about "overcoming failure," an essay topic that's hardly revolutionary, I am more involved with the specifics of your story--your times, the weight of disappointment after being cut--than the moral. That's a good thing; tell your story without clobbering admissions officers over the head with the theme. </p>

<p>Best of luck!</p>

<p>Many essay coaches seem to be saying that sports essays are to be avoided. You might want to spend a little more time brainstorming. I have a friend who is starting UT Plan 2 this fall (a small and highly selective TX program where admission is based quite a lot on the essay). He had drafted a truly amazing essay based on a particular game he had played in, talked about overcoming challenges and tied in his passion for history and some academic references to ancient battles and literature, etc. It was a great essay - appropriately funny, thought provoking and insightful - everyone who read it agreed. But, he ended up starting over and going with a different topic because he got advice about avoiding sports from several people who really know what they're doing. It turned out to be good advice for him at least.</p>

<p>IMO, the problem with sports essays isn't that they're common. The problem is that it is very difficult not to sound cliched in tackling a subject like "overcoming adversity" or "success through hard work." If you can do it, then great. However, you might give some thought about some other angle to take on your track experience.</p>

<p>For the record, both my D and my nephew wrote sports related essays for the common app and both did fine in terms of admissions.</p>