Dear Late Bloomers: Maybe You Can't Live Your Life In First Place

Dear Late Bloomers: Maybe You Can't Live Your Life In First Place

You should love yourself. But you should not love yourself so much that you stop trying to improve.
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Lately, I’ve been feeling like I used to when I would race at County Championships and place 2nd to last.

I was the 5th fastest runner on my school’s cross country team. I was the fastest in my events on our track team. My freshman year, I was captain of both teams. I was fast. I have the medals and trophies to prove it. I worked hard and always pushed myself. Yet, for whatever reason, whenever the Gwinnett County XC Championships were held, I sucked.

The problem was never arbitrary. It wasn’t the unnaturally cold weather. It wasn’t the fact that
I was unlucky and my shoe came off while I was racing. It wasn’t because the course was unnaturally hard. It was because, on the competitive Gwinnett County level, I qualified to run, but I was slow.

The problem with placement is that it is relative. You can be amazing in comparison to one group and utter trash when placed in competition with another.

It’s the same with college. In high school, I was an overachiever. I was extremely involved, held multiple leadership positions, and graduated with a 3.8. In college, I have a 3.4, a job, and no leadership positions. I am not particularly good at my job (if I can be called good at all). I have been rejected from every other thing I have applied to and am ineligible for the majority of scholarships that would make it possible for me not to have to work. I have no other viable options and given my current repertoire, my future competitiveness in the job market is shaky.

On the flip side, I attend a competitive university and have an acceptable GPA. I have a source of income. I am a published writer. I have friends I love and live in a community that provides me with opportunities I would never be able to dream of having otherwise.

I’m still qualifying.

As a junior, I feel like I am still at the starting line, surrounded by freshmen who are moving faster than me.

College is the County Championships of my life so far.

I’ve always been a late bloomer. I have always spent more time observing than being, thinking than vocalizing, building courage and energy than making use of it. I worry I do not have the time nor money to train myself into the front of the pack.

You may have mistaken this for a post that would culminate into some super positive “it’s OK to be how you are,” “love yourself,” “the world is still your oyster,” “*insert list of older people who became successful* This can still be you” article. It is not. It is not because those people are anomalies. Those people had a skillset and area they excelled in, they simply had to wait to be recognized for this. In reality, being one of those people is becoming less and less realistic.

I say all of this not to be pessimistic. I do not mean to scare or guilt or shame anyone, nor myself. I say this as inspiration to do something about it. If you don’t have a skillset, get one. Network. Find the thing within yourself that is delaying your progress and kill it. Or at least turn it into something useful.

There is a thin line between characteristics of who you are and characteristics of who you are right now.

The line is the decision. Nothing can define you besides what you allow to. If you can't live your life in first place, it's because you chose to accept second.

Dear Late Bloomers: This is a caution against complacency. You should love yourself. But you should not love yourself so much that you stop trying to improve.

“External circumstances will not change until internal belief systems change."
- Myles Munroe

Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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To The Coach Who Took Away My Confidence

You had me playing in fear.
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"The road to athletic greatness is not marked by perfection, but the ability to constantly overcome adversity and failure."

As a coach, you have a wide variety of players. You have your slow players, your fast players. You have the ones that are good at defense. You have the ones that are good at offense. You have the ones who would choose to drive and dish and you have the ones that would rather shoot the three. You have the people who set up the plays and you have the people who finish them. You are in charge of getting these types of players to work together and get the job done.

Sure, a coach can put together a pretty set of plays. A coach can scream their head off in a game and try and get their players motivated. A coach can make you run for punishment, or they can make you run to get more in shape. The most important role of a coach, however, is to make the players on their team better. To hopefully help them to reach their fullest potential. Players do make mistakes, but it is from those mistakes that you learn and grow.

To the coach the destroyed my confidence,

You wanted to win, and there was nothing wrong with that. I saw it in your eyes if I made a mistake, you were not too happy, which is normal for a coach. Turnovers happen. Players miss shots. Sometimes the girl you are defending gets past you. Sometimes your serve is not in bounds. Sometimes someone beats you in a race. Sometimes things happen. Players make mistakes. It is when you have players scared to move that more mistakes happen.

I came on to your team very confident in the way that I played the game. Confident, but not cocky. I knew my role on the team and I knew that there were things that I could improve on, but overall, I was an asset that could've been made into an extremely great player.

You paid attention to the weaknesses that I had as a player, and you let me know about them every time I stepped onto the court. You wanted to turn me into a player I was not. I am fast, so let me fly. You didn't want that. You wanted me to be slow. I knew my role wasn't to drain threes. My role on the team was to get steals. My role was to draw the defense and pass. You got mad when I drove instead of shot. You wanted me to walk instead of run. You wanted me to become a player that I simply wasn't. You took away my strengths and got mad at me when I wasn't always successful with my weaknesses.

You did a lot more than just take away my strengths and force me to focus on my weaknesses. You took away my love for the game. You took away the freedom of just playing and being confident. I went from being a player that would take risks. I went from being a player that was not afraid to fail. Suddenly, I turned into a player that questioned every single move that I made. I questioned everything that I did. Every practice and game was a battle between my heart and my head. My heart would tell me to go to for it. My heart before every game would tell me to just not listen and be the player that I used to be. Something in my head stopped me every time. I started wondering, "What if I mess up?" and that's when my confidence completely disappeared.

Because of you, I was afraid to fail.

You took away my freedom of playing a game that I once loved. You took away the relaxation of going out and playing hard. Instead, I played in fear. You took away me looking forward to go to my games. I was now scared of messing up. I was sad because I knew that I was not playing to my fullest potential. I felt as if I was going backward and instead of trying to help me, you seemed to just drag me down. I'd walk up to shoot, thinking in my head, "What happens if I miss?" I would have an open lane and know that you'd yell at me if I took it, so I just wouldn't do it.

SEE ALSO: The Coach That Killed My Passion

The fight to get my confidence back was a tough one. It was something I wish I never would've had to do. Instead of becoming the best player that I could've been, I now had to fight to become the player that I used to be. You took away my freedom of playing a game that I loved. You took away my good memories in a basketball uniform, which is something I can never get back. You can be the greatest athlete in the world, but without confidence, you won't go very far.

Cover Image Credit: Christina Silies

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MLB Releases Finalists For Major Awards

Best of the best go head to head one final time.

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This past MLB season revealed the greatest of the sport through extraordinary pitching, hitting, defense, and all-around performance. Players from various teams, positions, and skill level are recognized for grand performance throughout the season. Every year the greats are recognized through awards such as Cy Young Award, Rookie of the Year, and Manager of the Year. The MLB has finally released the top three candidates for each of these awards in each league (National and American). Here is an overview of each award and the top three candidates for each.

Cy Young Award

This award is given to the all-around best pitcher from each league. It is given in honor of the great pitcher, Cy Young, who passed away in 1955. Pitching statistics such as strikeouts, innings pitched, and ERA is among the stats that are analyzed in order to determine the winner of this award.

American League Finalists

Corey Kluber- Cleveland Indians

Blake Snell- Tampa Bay Rays

Justin Verlander- Houston Astros

National League Finalists

Jacob DeGrom- New York Mets

Aaron Nola- Philadelphia Phillies

Max Scherzer- Washington Nationals

The winners of these awards will be announced Wednesday, November 14, 2018. Blake Snell seems to be the favorite for the American League over 2017 World Series champion, Justin Verlander. Snell is a stand-out pitcher with an insane ERA of only 1.89. In the National League, Max Scherzer is sitting at the top with an impressive 300 strikeouts on the year.

Rookie of the Year

With a self-explanatory title, the Rookie of the Year award is given to the all-around top performing rookie from each league. Stand out offensive statistics are often the determining factor of the winner of this award, but defensive production, stolen bases, and many other things are taken into consideration.

American League Finalists

Miguel Andujar- New York Yankees

Shohei Ohtani- Los Angeles Angels

Gleyber Torres- New York Yankees

National League Finalists

Ronald Acuna Jr.- Atlanta Braves

Walker Buehler- Los Angeles Dodgers

Juan Soto- Washington Nationals

The winner of these awards will be announced Thursday, November 15, 2018. This has been one of the closest race in a while due to the extreme amount of talent these young players have brought to the league this season. Ohtani has been the talk of the American League all season, and Acuna Jr for the National League, but this award could go to any of these incredible athletes.

Manager of the Year

Another pretty self-explanatory title, this award is presented to the overall best manager in each league. Wins, quality of wins, and many other things are taken into consideration when the winner of this award is being decided. Many believe that the World Series winner is a shoo-in for this award, but with the level of talent at manager position these days there is never a sure winner.

National League Finalists

Bud Black- Colorado Rockies

Craig Counsell- Milwaukee Brewers

Brian Snitker- Atlanta Braves

American League Finalists

Kevin Cash- Tampa Bay Rays

Alex Cora- Boston Red Sox

Bob Melvin- Oakland Athletics

The winners of these awards will be announced Tuesday, November 13, 2018.

Alex Cora obviously holds the favorite for the American League Manager of the Year because of his recent World Series victory, but Melvin also brought his team farther than the club has been in years. As for the National League, Snitker led his club out of a four-season dry spell and won the NL East, but Black won the Wild Card shocking the Chicago Cubs.

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