As an 11-year-old asthmatic girl whose lungs could not function properly when exhausted, participating in sports was not an option for me. However, when my school introduced a new sport, softball, it caught my attention. I tried out for the annual school intramurals, and for the first time in my life, I decided to join a sport. The knowledge that I had trouble breathing did not stop me from lining up with other girls under the scorching sun on a vast green field. This event that made me realize why people should just give up. Here are four reasons to give up:
1. You will be rejected.
There is a line from The Fault in our Stars that says “Pain demands to be felt.” My first rejection was heartbreaking. They actually picked a 4th grader instead of me, and I was in 5th grade.
2. They will criticize you.
Why did I not make the team? They said I was not good enough. Speaking like accountants, they informed me that I was a liability, not an asset.
3. Success is a long process.
The next academic year, I joined the softball club. In the club, there was no try-out. All you need is the will power. Most of the time, I could not catch the ball and I kept missing the hits. Learning how to play the game seemed like an endless trip. When a ball hit my face, I passed out finally.
4. No one will believe in you.
During high school I tried out for the Varsity Team, and I made it! I had intense trainings and a strict coach. My father told me that I should quit the team; that it was a waste of my time and I should focus only on my studies. Maybe when no one remains to believe in you, you are left to believe in yourself. I was not the best on the team, but I did give it my best.
One day, I asked myself “Why am I even playing this game?” In spite of all the rejections, criticisms, and bruises, I realized the lessons I had learned and the people I had met and in my heart I knew the answer. The joy I felt on this journey invalidated my four reasons to give up. It gave me a reason to not give up. It gave me a purpose to strive more and become a better athlete, aim for more home runs, and grow from my mistakes. The experience taught me to see my failures as steps to success. At a time when I thought no one believed in me, I was about to swing the bat at my first game when I turned my back and saw my whole family cheering for me. I felt like a winner.
Eventually, I graduated high school as part of the softball varsity team A, and I can say now that all the struggles were worth it. Remember that the only person who can limit yourself is you. I am somebody to this world, and my family will have my back. When you stop trying, you stop living. Celebrate life and keep moving forward!
By Ellaine Anne Bernardino, a regional intern at the World Youth Alliance Asia Pacific office