The Benchwarmer

Celebrate the role of sports in your life. (200-250 words)

My soccer career wasn't the "ideal" career where I would start every match and win every game. Quite the opposite, I was the classic benchwarmer on a team that wasn't very good.

At the beginning of the season, I wasn’t happy to be there. I had loved playing soccer for a long time, but it wasn’t much fun to work hard in practices and never get to play. And it certainly wasn’t fun to lose. I decided I had two choices. Either find a way to have fun or quit. Since I really couldn’t imagine my life without soccer, I was determined to find a way to have fun.

The first step was to change my attitude. I became the guy who was always positive and encouraging. The next step was to find a way to play. I started asking teammates if they would stick around after practice and just play for fun. Initially only a couple would. But then, I began bringing bags of sandwiches to share with those that stayed for the pick-up game. That did it. More and more members of the team stayed and played. This didn't necessarily help the starters, but it improved the skills of benchwarmers, like me, dramatically. Slowly but surely we became a team.

I finished the season ecstatic. I had fun and I had created a role for myself that mattered to the team.