One of the most important things I learned outside of the classroom was what it meant to be a successful athlete. I experienced my first sporting endeavor when I was a three years old. I have enjoyed sports activities since that early age, although no one would have considered me a star player. What kept me practicing and participating without being the one of the number one players was knowing I was a successful athlete.
I am a successful athlete not because of a time, a score, a place, or a homerun. I am successful because of my contributions to the team. One of these contributions is my flexibility with my coaches. I am willing to add events as needed even when they are not my favorite events. For example, my track coach asked me at a meet if I would run the 3200. I normally did not run this event, but without a second thought, I said I would.
On the swimming team, none of the female swimmers wanted to swim the 100 Butterfly, the hardest stroke. My coach asked me to swim this stroke. He knew that I would put in the time to improve my technique and time. I did this without complaint. My easygoing attitude often gains my teams additional points. I get the satisfaction of knowing I contributed to the overall competition as a team member.
I am a true team player. I have always cheered on each team member from start to finish. I am capable of placing the team before my own desires and my pride. One illustration of this ability was when one of the girls on my cross-country team had a broken arm. As I was running, I could see she was in pain. I slowed my pace to...