The Person I Admire Most, and Why


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The Person I Admire Most, and Why

 

Throughout grade school, I was an average student in academic subjects, partly because I was embarrassed about my accent. Things were even worse in P.E. I always tried to hide when my classmates picked teams for sports because I felt so awkward. When we played baseball or kickball, I always seemed to stumble in front of my classmates. Because I believed I was horrible at physical activities, without really even trying, I had no confidence and felt embarrassed about performing in front of others. Soon I even lost what confidence I had in the classroom and stopped raising my hand to answer questions, even when I knew the answer.

 

          My seventh grade year started off just the same. But, in spring semester when track season started, everything changed. That's when I encountered the person I admire the most, the person to whom I attribute my success as an athlete and my belief in myself. He recognized a hidden talent in me and encouraged me to develop it.

 

     That person is my seventh grade P.E. instructor, Coach García. One afternoon, during P.E., Coach García marched us onto the track and divided us into groups for relay races. He started talking, and the first thing I noticed was that he spoke with an accent, too. But soon I started paying more attention to what he was saying how teamwork is such an important element for the relay race because we would have to pass the baton to our teammates. He could see that I was hanging back. Every time he said, "Remember, do your best because your teammates need you," he seemed to be talking directly to me!

 

          At the practices, I kept hearing his phrase, "Your teammates need you." Even though I couldn't see how my teammates would need me, since I could never seem to play any sport, when we went to our first track meet, I decided to test Coach García's theory. When I received the baton, I darted away from the starting line, running as fast as I could. I pushed myself that day, something I had never done before in P.E. I started off so fast that I gave my team a great lead, and we won the race.

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At the end of the meet, Coach García complimented and encouraged me. He told me I was agile (the first thing I did when I got home was look the word up), said I would be great at other track events, and invited me to run the 100-meter dash for Sun Valley Middle School in the district's track meet.

 

           Since seventh grade, I have garnered 22 first-place ribbons from track competitions. Coach García has been with me in every single race in which I have competed - not physically, of course. However, I hear his inspiring words each time I am at the starting block and before I cross the finish line. In hindsight, I can see that my seventh grade year was a pivotal point in my life. My involvement in athletics changed and set the tone for the rest of my school years. My successes in athletics raised my self-confidence, and that carried over into the classroom. I stopped worrying about my accent, and started asking questions and commenting in class. My teachers started paying more attention to me, and my grades improved. For these reasons Coach García is one of the people I admire most. I am thankful that he wouldn't let me hide behind my teammates, that he saw something in me that encouragement, practice, and confidence - and teamwork - would bring out.

 

          Now, a senior in high school, I continue to run track, and I have been rewarded for this talent with many awards. Yes, Coach García inspired me to do my best in track, but he also put me on the right track to do well in the rest of my life.


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