Sports have played an important role in my life ever since I was very young. My interest began early in life when my parents would take me to the Astros, Rockets, and Texans games. I loved the excitement that I would feel when we went to watch these events, especially when the scores were close until the very end of the game. I started playing t-ball when I was 3, basketball when I was 6, and football when I was 10. I have played select year round baseball ever since I was 8. I believe playing sports has helped develop and change me into the person I am today.
One of my most memorable moments was at the World Series when I was eleven years old and played on the Texas Rattlers. The July heat in South Haven, Mississippi was unbearable. It was the semi-final game in the World Series. Sweat dripped off my nose as we ran into the dugout1
for our last at bat. “We need some runs!” The coaches yelled as they spit out sunflower seeds. We were down by one run in the last inning2
. I was the second batter up as my hands shook the aluminum bat back and forth in the on-deck circle. I was ready for this moment; this is why I stayed late after every practice; this is why I was the captain of the team; this was my moment. In the next few seconds, I had the chance to show my strength as a hitter and my ability to be a leader under pressure. I stepped up to the batters box and the coach screamed, “Gavin, hit like you always do. Let’s go number 7!” That made me even more nervous, but now I was more determined than ever to hit that ball. I knew that I had to find a way to lead my team to victory. All of my hard work and dedication should payoff now! The pitcher went through his motions and threw a fastball right down the middle. It felt like the pitch was coming at me in slow motion, just like in the movies. I waited and waited for the pitch to come and when it did I swung the bat with all my might. The baseball flew off my bat like a shooting star over the left field fence. I hit a homerun! My coaches and teammates leaped for joy because we had just won the semi-final game! “Gavin, way to give it your all! All of that hard work paid off in that swing. You’re a great player and you have earned my respect.” I believe my strength gave me the ability to hit the homerun that day. My teammates and I would always joke around about who had the biggest muscles, who could bench3
the most weight and who could run the fastest. I was the strongest that day!
I feel like being a part of this team and other teams, taught me a lot about getting along with people. It taught me that you had to get along4
with everyone on the team because each player has his job to do. I did my job by hitting the homerun when my team needed me most. When my coach selected me to be team captain of the Texas Rattlers, I felt like it was because I had gained the respect of my coaches and teammates. As team captain, I remember the time I had to give a speech to my team because we had lost an important game. “Ladies,” I joked. “We played a great game. Y’all shouldn’t hang your heads. We gave it our best and that is all I can ask from you. We ran, threw, and hit our hardest until the game was over. I am not happy we lost, but we can learn everything from defeat. We should be proud of our effort and the way we played the game.” I was nervous, but knew it was my responsibility to cheer my team up when they were down. This experience has helped me become more independent so I’m obtaining the ability to talk like a leader in front of my team and a group. Sports helped me realize that you can’t win at everything in life all the time. So, through sports, I have learned to cope with losing. I have a special sign in my room that says, “You Can Learn Little From Victory…You Can Learn Everything From Defeat.” These experiences have taught me how to be a more gracious winner and loser. Hard work, dedication and long practices have changed me into a more disciplined player and person.
Our head football coach, Coach Johnston, tells us all the time, “Practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.” I believe in this quote and I try to remember it everyday of my life, on and off the field.
I am a better person today because sports have played such an important role in my life. On and off the field, I am stronger, more disciplined and respectful, and a better leader. I have had so many great experiences through sports, which have taught me life lessons and prepared me for the future. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to meet so many friends, coaches and families that will forever have an impact on my life. The memories of all the awesome trips and different experiences I have had will be with me for a lifetime. The homerun that I hit at the World Series in South Haven is one of my most memorable moments. I am so proud that sports have changed my life in these ways.