Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you then, please share your story.
Vivid memories of this fateful day are permanently etched in my heart. My team had come a long way into the semi-finals of the district level football championship. “Common guys, you’re almost there; you can do it. Just go out there and give it your best shot! Remember; never give up and never stop believing in yourself”. These were the inspiring words of my then coach, Mr. Maurya, right before the kick off the whistle. I remember how often he used to tell me that victory can be achieved only when you go all out, and that is the attitude I have adopted not just on but also off the field.
This was my moment of truth. It was one of the final tests of rigorous training, strict diet and fitness exercise regimen I had been religiously following for many years. As the captain of the ‘Scholar High School Football Team’, a fierce desire to lead my team into the finals burned inside me. It was no longer about who had practiced more, or trained harder, but who got the adrenaline pumping. There are thousands of set pieces, strategies, tactics in football, and even if one becomes adept at implementing a few of these, the mightiest of defenses can be penetrated, and that was exactly what we were going to carry out. Football has given way to augment my intellectual curiosity; the very way of getting around defenses is analogous to getting around, for example, math problems. You somehow know there’s always a way.
After 90 long minutes on the field, under the scorching sun, my body had given up but my heart refused to. A blacksmith was running in my chest, but it was a desire that kept me going. All I could hear were some faded distant cheers from the stands, but nothing else mattered anymore. Football at that moment owned me. It was much more to me than just a sport. Despite having a narrow one-goal lead as the match neared its end, we ended up conceding two goals in quick succession and that sealed our fate. Just a couple of minutes of sloppy play led to defeat.
Life moves recklessly fast and changes destinies within the split of a second. One moment we were all elated, but the next moment our dreams came crashing down. Although the match was lost, I learned some winning lessons of life. This match taught me never to sell anyone short even if you have the upper hand over them. I understood that someone with unflinching determination can rise from the ashes and change the course of events dramatically. It is never about who can perform but about who can persevere. I believe that even though we lost, we gained more than our opponents. The experience they say is the best teacher and this unsettling/bittersweet, yet life-transforming experience has made me learn some important lessons in life. I was never the same person again.
Lastly, football has taught me the importance of leadership and teamwork. One should never give individual accomplishments preference over the greater good of the team. When I lead my team, I realize how much the output can vary when every single member puts in one hundred percent effort into our task. There is a lot more to leadership than simply directing others. A true leader, above all, is someone who can lead by example and has the mettle to stay calm under the unnerving situation, take anything into his stride and emerge a winner in the end, and football has taught me all of these virtues. He must be able to boost the morale and create harmony between each member, as only then can the maximum potential of the team be realized.
Much of my personality has been moulded through my extensive involvement in football right since childhood, and it is still my unquenchable thirst for success that makes me look forward to every successive training session. Had it not been football, my life would not have been half as wonderful and meaningful as it is today and I sincerely hope the trend keeps continuing upward.