Despite what anyone tells you, following your dreams is hard. Over the previous month, I have been required to conquer my fears and deal with failures. As I have dealt with these fears, it has also lead to GREAT victories. These victories have only come to light due to perseverance.
When I was in high school, I was an avid runner. I was a part of the school's track and cross country team. It wasn't long after I began to run, that I found out I had a real possibility to be the BEST distance runner at my school. When I started out, I was extremely out of shape. Until this point, I had never participated in organized sports. I knew it would be a challenge, but it was a challenge I was willing to accept.
When I started, I was the WORST on the team. Every practice, my teammates would lap me. I would be exhausted while they were simply warming up. I knew that it would take hard work for them to even consider me a member of this team. One of my coaches made it his mission, to make me a great runner. He would call me in to practice before the others. After practice had concluded, I remained there for extra workouts. I was put on a strict diet. It wasn't long before I was running side by side with my teammates.
The guys I use to look up to, soon graduated. I was left as the veteran on the team. It was time for me to lead the new members of the team and set the example. I can't even begin to explain the pain I felt elevating myself to the next level of competition. I was tired. I wanted to throw up. I doubted myself. I wanted to quit.
There was so many reasons why I couldn't be the best. But I only needed ONE reason to be successful. My father. My father was a track star when he was in high school. I can remember seeing the look in his eye as he sat from the stands and watched his son compete. It was a look of pride. I didn't want to let my father down. So I fought through the pain, I put in the hours, and I made it.
How could it be that a child who had never shown any athletic promise, became the best distance runner on the team? It is a lesson that I have taken with me throughout my years as an adult. I proved to myself that whatever I want in life, I can achieve it with hard work. Through the fire, through the pain, through the heartache...you can achieve success.