When I was about six I started playing baseball, for Mt. Airy in Philadelphia. Obviously it didn’t matter if you were skilled or not it was solely to have fun and make new friends. It was easy to. No one cared if you could throw the ball from second to first. Or stop a slow grounder. If you had peanut butter and jelly for lunch you had friends.
I remember my first baseball game; it was my birthday and didn’t really feel like being there. Armed with a stiff plastic glove, and narrow a blue Warrior metal bat I started to feel a little more at home. 9th to bat, after the all the kids who could make a pop fly catch, I grasped the thin electric taped handle of my bat, and walked into the batters box. We had gone over what side you go to at practice a few times, but I didn’t remember the first time. I tapped the bat to the plate, aimed at the ball sitting atop the tee and swung. I was never sure if I actually made contact with the ball or the hard pedestal. But I saw the ball on the ground and I ran. I was going to make it to first base. I tripped and my arms fell forward. I wrapped my arms gingerly around the bag. “SAFE,” yelled the umpire. Maybe with some hard work and sticking to it I could make it to second base next time. Either way, I was hooked. I knew, from then on baseball was a part of me, an idea that has the ability to make anyone feel safe and befriended. I was now part of the gigantic body of fans that are will forever be my semi-close family.
“Ai-yah.” Most people would think is just a random yelp or something you’d hear down in the subway howled by the local crazy person. But I will explain how it is more then that.
The word “Ai-yah,” or Kia comes from all types of karate, martial arts, and self-defense. It is used in attempt to scare the opponent when yelled in part with an attack. Some teachers enforce this tradition ritualistically, occasionally punishing the student for failing to yell louder. These simple words can easily affect the outcome of ones life.
I still remember getting my black belt and always try to cherish that moment. I was 13 and had been studying karate for 5 years. My teacher Sensei Mike had been gruelingly training me for a while and it was finally the black belt extravaganza. This event is where, after the initial test where you perform techniques and katas is preformed, you receive your black belt.
We were all lined up, my brother and I, also a few of or friends. At the front line of the karate mat, we were waiting for our belts. The instructor announces our name and we freeze. This moment would change our lives forever. A heavy man, Sensei Mike dented the mat with every step towards me. Carrying our black belts sewed with golden lettering, inside a thin plastic bag. He told us to take off our old belts, and lay them on the floor. I was reluctant to do so, after being told the years before to never let my belt touch the ground. He gently smacked the belt into my hand. The feeling of biting your tongue or human nails gouging a black board ran up my back. I undressed the belt from the plastic covering and began to tie it. My hands shaking, my heart pumping, the crowd watching. Green and blue eyes in the background, the shiny yellow letters in the foreground mixed with my hands. It took me a little long to finish the knot but I defiantly didn’t care. I had gotten my black belt. For me it meant authority, he power to tell people right from wrong leading in the right direction towards success and responsibility. It meant more then just a differently colored belt. It shows who I am and what I had to work for to achieve this title.
Discipline shaped me. I work well when told what to do. I try my best to fulfill the requirements set on me. I if I put my mind to it I can always overcome the obstacle. I know what is good for me. I know that work comes before play, Brains beats brawn. But I would rather have both. Training myself to achieve maximum excellence. Discipline makes sports discipline makes me.
Soccer has been around for a long time and through the ages, the people who play it are almost always attached for life. Maybe it’s the fun or the friendship but for me it will always be the glory.
I love that feeling of a great kick. Perfectly connecting with the bounciest part of the soccer ball. The crowd, or the few parents, hushes as the ball sails across the field into the net. The goalie gets up dusts themselves off and, in defeat, walks back to the sidelines. I strive for this feeling, an injection of pure success and glory.
I started playing soccer when I was about seven, my mom asked me if I wanted to be on my best friends team, the Revolution. Of course I said yes, this was going to be so fun. My friend’s dad was the coach, and he started me at defense. Trying hard to not let the other team get past usually went in vain. I really needed to learn how to play better. I bet a few years would help.
Now I was ten and joined my school team. Again I started for defense but this time I knew what I was doing. Almost every time an offender came down the field I stole the ball and passed it back up the sideline.The few times they dribbled past me usually resulted in a goal. Gulled, by the skill of the kids I watched them yell and scream. Some times they even came over to me. Juiced with selfishness and ignorance they called me names and pushed me around. It probably wasn't the best idea to retaliate. But I really had to hold myself.
After the game my coach had a team small meeting. He really expressed how important it was to reamin calm and uphold the golden rule of sportsmanship. I was stunned, people cared about this so much, and I should too. Sportsmanship was so important, and now I knew. I would uphold this for the rest of my life. I love to make new friends, achieve the glory of a goal and express my self through sports.
Now I am 15 I bat fourth in my baseball lineup, start forward for soccer, and I am going for my 1st degree black belt in October. I have gone a long way since I began doing sports. After all the years I have been changed physically and my outlook on the world. Hard work, Dedication, Discipline, and Sportsmanship. These make the person and the sports, if I try my best to follow these principals, hopefully I can achieve my goals. I could like feel everything is reachable with only a solid good effort, an effort that shows what I am capable of and what really makes me, me.