A Letter to Myself: You were wrong.

A Letter to Myself: You were wrong.

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Research shows that by the time you turn twenty one, you will have already met the person that you're going to spend the rest of your life with. For me, that is a crazy, mind-numbing thought. I remember being in high school, thinking that I couldn't wait to find "the one" because I couldn't imagine any of the boys I knew having a future, let alone having a future with me. Now that I've grown up a little, I realize that I was wrong. Just because someone wasn't right for me, doesn't mean that they aren't right for anyone. I've watched (from afar) so many of the boys I've graduated with turn into the most amazing individuals; full time jobs, professional networks, even becoming fathers who provide for their families. And to be honest, I couldn't be more proud of them. I am excited that they have come this far and are pushing themselves to be the best version of themselves. Fast forward a few years, and we're all getting old. Some of us are earning degrees, some of us are buying houses, some of us are starting families; the point is, life is happening. Life is a long road that I believe should not be spent alone, but I also believe that you shouldn't spend it with the wrong person. So as you get older, take a look around. You might find that you were wrong, too.

Let's start at the beginning- you were wrong about all of those boys in high school. You were wrong about them having a future and about them making something of themselves. You were wrong when you thought that you would be alone forever, and you were wrong about what you thought you wanted to do with the rest of your life. You were wrong about where you wanted to go to school, and who you thought you were supposed to be. You were wrong about every single one of your life predictions, and you were wrong about other people's expectations. You were wrong to think that you'd never feel a deeper connection with someone, and you were even more wrong when you imagined who it would be with. You were wrong when you told yourself that "high school is over, and so is this." You were wrong about him. You were wrong when you told yourself that he was unmotivated and you were wrong when you told yourself that you weren't good enough. You were wrong when you told yourself that it would never work out, and you were wrong about what you thought you were capable of. You were wrong when you told yourself that he didn't care about you, and you were wrong when you told yourself that you didn't care about him. You were wrong when you thought it was just the beginning of something, but you were also wrong when you thought it was the end. You were wrong and you know it.

Things are always changing. Times are changing, people are changing, life is changing. As we get older, we begin to realize that we can only allow certain people to be in our lives. They have to earn it, or else, what's the point? We get to make the decision of what is right for us, and how we live our lives. When faced with these questions, we can't let the past get in the way. Now is now, but we live for the future. It's time for you to start being right.

Cover Image Credit: http://www.planwallpaper.com/static/images/4-Nature-Wallpapers-2014-1_cDEviqY.jpg

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7 Things That Annoy Volleyball Players More Than Anything

How to get under a volleyball player's skin in two seconds.
Sam
Sam
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I'm not sure why but volleyball players are a very particular group of people — we like what we like and we HATE what we don't, especially when it is volleyball-related. If you're a volleyball player, I'm sure you can relate to this list and if you're not a volleyball player, now you know exactly how you will be able to get under our skin.

1. Girls who wear spandex in public

Don’t get me wrong, we wear spandex for a living. We understand WHY people wear them to workout. But wearing them to the dining hall, class or anywhere that isn’t the gym… please don’t. Put on some shorts or leggings — PLEASE.

2. The “I’ll beat you in volleyball” line

For some odd reason when someone who likes you finds out that you play volleyball, they say this. I’m not sure why, but its really annoying that people think they’re better than you (a collegiate athlete) at the sport you’ve been playing your whole life.

3. When guys mention that they only come to your games because you wear spandex

You’re right, why would any appreciate our athletic ability when you can simply appreciate our butts.

4. Freshman who don’t think they have to do their Freshman duties

PSA: Every single school has freshman duties; YOU ARE NOT THE ONLY FRESHMAN WHO HAVE TO DO THEM. Everyone has done them when they were a freshman. Stop complaining, do your duties, and play volleyball because after your freshman season you’ll never have to do it again.

5. When people try to tell you that volleyball isn’t hard

Why don’t you jump for three hours straight and throw your body on the ground hundreds of times and tell me how easy it is.

6. The word "spike"

I honestly feel bad about hating this so much but nothing nothing NOTHING annoys us more than when someone uses the work "spike". For some reason this word went out of style a longgggg time ago and nobody got the memo except the people in the volleyball world. Instead of telling your friend that they had a good spike, tell them that they had a great "hit." HIT = SPIKE.

7. Balls that aren't perfectly blown up

Volleyball players are hands down the most high maintenance group of people when it comes to our sport. I will go through an entire ball cart to find the best ball possible... if the ball is flat, no matter what contact you make it is going to be bad. If the ball is too hard, no matter what contact you make it is going to be bad.

Cover Image Credit: Sam
Sam
Sam

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4 lessons in adversity I learned from sports

Tales from someone who passionately loves "The Game", but "The Game" definitely doesn't love him back.

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Like many kids, growing up, I loved sports. I worshipped them. The only problem was every time I looked to make the greatest play, the most athletic dive, dodge, shot, etc., it seemed simply that my body could not catch up with the commands my mind was delivering. Hopefully, these are a few stories that you can relate to with a connecting message about dealing with adversity that I hope resonates. Enjoy!

1. "The Diving Play"

I toed the rubber. Well, it wasn't really the rubber as much as it was where the grass met the road. It was what we had, through a good bit of arguing, determined was the mound. It was the kind of blistering heat out that made you want to crawl into a freezer and sleep the summer away. You could bake cookies on the pavement, that kind of hot. I bent down to stare at the bounce-back trampoline we had set up as the "catcher". Shook off a few imaginary signals. Wiped the sweat from my brow and stood back straight, whiffle ball firmly clutched in my right hand. I drew in a breath.

It was the bottom of the seventh inning of a game that was supposed to only go six, but we were deadlocked in a tie at 3-3. At the plate was my good friend Jack. He stood patiently at the plate doing a few lazy practice swings waiting for the pitch. It was just the two of us out there playing a game of Home Run Derby. Hit the ball a certain distance, you get a single. A little bit farther than that, a double, and so on. The winner's prize was immense, they would get to jump in the pool while the other stood barefoot on the driveway. Remember that bit about the blistering heat being enough to bake cookies? Yeah, neither of us wanted to lose.

I drew another breath before winding up, bringing my knee to my chest, kicking my leg up high in the best impersonation of Baltimore Orioles' legend Jim Palmer that I could muster. My leg came down hard and I sent my arm hurling in pursuit, releasing the ball to go flying towards the plate. Jack made contact, boy did he make contact, but he sent it high into the sky. "Playable" or so I thought. I drifted towards where I thought the ball would land, eyes toward the sky following that white blip that was the whiffle ball. My drift turned to a jog, a jog into a run, and a run into a full-on sprint as I chased the falling ball. I lined it up and raced for it as it fell closer to the ground.

I knew one thing. I would either catch this ball or it would land far enough to be a home run and end this game. I had it in my sights. It was just about ten feet from the ground so I went for it. The sprawling, diving, reaching grab. Looking to make the Sportscenter Top Ten. Airborne looking to snag the play of the game. Reaching... lunging... Well if you read the title of the article I'm sure you can guess where this goes. I missed. Badly.

My "spectacular dive" left me about fifteen feet short of where the ball landed. My "full-on sprint" was at best a brisk jog that didn't get me even close to the ball. As I got off the ground, spitting out dirt and brushing off the grass from my now stained t-shirt, I looked back to see Jack doing victory laps around the field, whooping and hollering. A few minutes later as I stood on the incinerating gravel feeling my feet singe off I thought to myself "Man does it suck to be unathletic."

2. Your Mind Says Yes, But Your Body Says No

This is one of so many examples of sports moments in my life where I feel so confident in an ability to make a play only to fall so horrendously short. They are what I call "your mind says yes, but your body says no" moments. Where you know exactly what to do and how to do it, but your body simply can't execute on the scheme your brain is planning. Ask my good friend Mark Sucoloski what his favorite memory from middle school basketball was and he will eagerly tell you the story of when I blocked a shot, got the ball, ran down the court, and proceeded to do a jump stop and miss not only the basket but the backboard entirely. An air ball that went clear over the backboard and sailed out of bounds. A "your mind says yes, but your body says no" moment. I feel like a writer that forgot the alphabet, a mathematician that can't recognize the number 6, or a historian that knows every event in history, just can't for the life of her remember the order. The mental aspect is there, I know exactly what I need to do, it's just that the old arms and legs can't figure out exactly what's being asked of them.

3. "You're So Tall! Do You Play Basketball?"

I am just about 6'3" which I believe is just about the measurement that starts "tall". Sorry 6'2" and below, you aren't really tall. That's the threshold. 75 inches and above and you get the "How's the weather up there?" "Man you are so tall you must be able to reach everything" "What are they feeding you?" comments. But my absolute favorite, the cream of the crop of tall people comments, is "You're so tall! You must play basketball". The instant response in my head is "Yes, I would love to play basketball! If only I were faster, stronger, could shoot better, had quicker reflexes, could play better defense, pass better, and just all around be more athletic! But I've got the height!" Now don't get me wrong, basketball is my favorite sport to play, so I am not offended by the statement, just agonized that despite my vertical accomplishments it is doubtful that I will play organized basketball at any level past middle school.

Another story to illustrate the point. At my old high school, like many across the country, we would play an annual teacher-student basketball game. My Junior year I decided to sign up. "What could go wrong?" I asked, ever so foolishly. If you've watched any movie or TV show that has the phrase "What's the worst that could happen?" you know that NOTHING good ever comes after those words are uttered. Nonetheless, I showed up in a gray and orange Adam Jones Orioles jersey, ready to play. The Freshmen got the first quarter, the Sophomores got the second, and then it was time for us Juniors. I was tasked with the tip-off. The referee (our AD) tossed the basketball up in the air. The teacher opposite of me was a solid five or six inches shorter than I am so it didn't take much of a jump to swat the ball back to a teammate behind.

A roar came from the crowd and I finally took a moment amid all the nerves to survey the gym. Hundreds of my classmates clapping and cheering having a grand old time, ready for Spring Break which started at the end of the day. I snapped out of my trance and raced down the court. Now I won't bore you with all the play-by-play of that game but let's just say it started well. I made my first shot, a Dirk Nowitzky-style fade away jumper from the low block. I blocked my math teacher (sweet, sweet revenge) and got fouled trying to make a layup. I hit both the free throws. I was feeling it. The crowd was behind me, I was enjoying every bit of this. Then, like a sheep to the slaughter, like a fly to the web, like a bug to the bright light, I tried something. Something I shouldn't have.

I had just snatched a rebound out of the air on the defensive side and when I turned I saw nothing but open floor ahead. So I ran, dribbling and racing down the court. Midcourt and still no one to the front or to the sides. Three-point line... free throw line... I picked up the ball and took one step... two steps and rose up to lay-in an easy bucket. And that's when I saw a shadow, like the fog rolling over a valley, rise up behind me. As I offered the ball up to the basketball gods to place in the hoop a hand flew out of nowhere. The hand denied the basketball, denied the basket, denied me.

As I headed back to the ground I wondered what just happened, almost in slow motion as my feet touched the ground I looked down to see that basketball, the very same basketball that I had just gently rolled towards the basket, had bounced on the court and was rising rapidly. Towards my face. With no time to react the ball slammed straight into my face, as my head whiplashed backward I saw the ball careen out of bounds. The ball bounced away as I slowly regained an awareness of what had just happened. My hearing returned and I was greeted with a massive "OOOOH" as everyone reacted to what had just happened.

I slowly turned to see who the shadow was. It was the basketball coach, a mid-thirties athlete that stood about my height with two, maybe three, times the muscle. I learned later that he had started running from the baseline as I crossed half court and had caught up to me and blocked my shot so hard that my friend later remarked: "we could almost see the soul leave your body". The fact that I was reintroduced to the ball with my face after the block was only the icing on the cake. I was soon replaced in the game.

4. Attempting the Next Shot

Hopefully, these stories I have told were entertaining, but the lesson I hope to impart to you, the reader, is that sometimes no matter how hard you try you will fail. Sometimes you will run full speed and still drop the ball. Sometimes you will hustle down the court and still get blocked, but that doesn't mean give up. Quite the contrary, giving it your all and still coming up short doesn't mean you are inadequate, it doesn't mean you are a failure, and it doesn't mean that your best isn't good enough. It just means you have to come back tomorrow and try again. I believe it isn't about making the layup or completing the diving catch.

Yes, winning and accomplishing the task at hand is an easy way of showing success, but I believe it is not the only way. Success can also be just coming back and trying again, even if you fail a second time, a third time, a 156th time. In the end, it doesn't matter if you made the shot (though your friends will certainly try to convince you otherwise). What matters is that you come back swinging. Everyone misses. Mike Trout fails seven of ten times he bats. Jordan failed half the time from the field. Gretzky missed 82.43% of the time. The next shot they take after the miss is the hardest and most important shot to take.

"Just keep trying" is certainly a cliche message, I know, but I hope that this slightly different take, one that has no "redemption song" at the end will add a layer to the cliche. Do it for the love of the game, for the love of music, for the love of whatever you do, not because you feel destined to ultimately succeed. I know every time I get on the court, field, whatever that there is a better chance that I will utterly embarrass myself than I will make the game-winning play. I still go out there because I love the game, even if the game doesn't love me back.

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I had big dreams as a kid, even had the Michael Jordan tongue-out technique

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