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Alex Aguilar 1/18/2013 ENC 1102 Final Draft

The Open Arms of Sports Community is something that has always been a strong factor in my everyday life. Back when I lived in Coconut Creek, South Florida, I was an avid player of sports. My main sport for about eight years was soccer. I started playing in second grade and ever since then I played every year until the tenth grade. After that, I decided to go into a sport that I hadn’t paid much attention too which was swimming. After my first year, I was promoted captain and went on to compete at regionals for the state of Florida. In this paper I will be diving deep into the sports community and going all the way back to when my obsession with sports first began. With much of my life revolving around sports, the sports community was a place that I called home. As I grew up and became better and better at sports, I could feel the warm embrace that the sports community had for me in my city. For example, whenever a person goes to watch a sporting event, there is always yelling and cheering. It is a normal thing. However when you usually go to a youth sporting event, you will typically see those parents that are yelling at the kids equally as loud as they yell at professional athletes. Now to most people, they would think that these parents were crazy but since I grew up hearing all the yelling, I began to take it as a challenge. When I would see a parent cheering for a specific player on the opposite team, it would give me even more motivation to beat that kid just to watch their parents be quiet.

Growing up in sports also allowed a fan base to grow around me. I would see people that I had never seen before watching me at my games. My grandfather used to live 10 minutes from my house but when he moved to Orlando, he would still come back down to South Florida to watch my soccer tournaments. This gave me such a strong feeling of pride knowing that people actually wanted to watch me play. This made me strive to become the best, no matter what it took. My community gave me a sense of self-worth. This was something that is very hard to find in some other communities. For instance, in the academic community, it is very hard to have teachers that will stand behind you and push you to be your best. Unfortunately many teachers are not in a position to push you to your full potential. What I mean by that is that you can only see that teacher for as long as the class period permits. Sure in college you are able go to see the teacher after class or at their office hours, but in middle and high school once you leave that teachers class, you will most likely not see them until the next day. This was a main difference between a coach and a teacher. When you are in a sport, your coach becomes your motivation. You will be at practice for two sometimes three hours. Their leadership was what drove your community. No matter where you went or what team you were on, you always showed a great deal of respect to a coach. They were your parents on the field. They wanted to see you do your best no matter what the outcome was. That really drove me to truly care for the sports community. The coaches made it so you had a reason to not only play your hardest but to also win so that you could show them that they truly made a difference. As I went into my teenage years there would be substantial amounts of money given to the teams that I would play on in order to purchase new uniforms, snacks, and to pay for travel. When I was made aware of how much money my travel team had, my mind was blown. For

instance, when I was thirteen, I asked my coach how much it cost to get each player to Orlando for just one tournament. He told me it cost one hundred dollars per person. I couldn’t believe my ears when he said that. There were twelve players on my team. That meant it cost twelve hundred dollars just to get us to Orlando. This made me realize that there was a lot of money that was needed to help this team function. This was when all of the countless carwashes started to all make sense. Almost every month my team had a carwash and I would always dread going to it because I never saw what the benefits of them were. However once I found out that we needed so much money to keep the team going, the team and I start to really work hard on the car washes. For example on one summer day, we made over three thousand dollars in both carwashes and tips. This was really the point when I noticed just how large the sports community was. There were countless amounts of people willing to give ten dollars to a bunch of kids just for a car wash. And why where they willing to do this? They will willing to do this because once they were also in this position. They had to stand in the hot sun asking for donations and scrubbing cars. So it shows that this community really did have my back. They were willing to help because they knew that the community was strong and they were making a difference when they gave money to the organizations. As I grew older, I was able to participate in coaching of the younger players as well as sponsoring some rising stars in the soccer world. Once I got older, I started to stray away from soccer. I wanted to spend some time in a different sport. This was when I decided to start competitive swimming. With this new found sport, I was having a great time however I could not stay away from the soccer community for long. My brother, who is ten years younger them me, was just starting to play for a soccer team. I went with him to his first practice and I could see

that the coach did not have an assistant coach. This was when I offered my assistance. I filled out all of the paper work and I was certified to be the assistant coach by the start of the first game. Once I walked onto that field with my special coach’s polo on, all of the experiences of being a soccer player rushed back into my mind. The high pitched sound of the referee’s whistle, the constant yelling of the parents and coaches. All of these things made me feel like I was back where I belonged. I had just dove head first back into the community that raised me as a child. I was being welcomed back into the community with more enthusiasm than ever. After a very long season, my team finished third overall. We made it to the playoffs but where unfortunately beaten by one goal in the semi-finals. At the soccer banquet at the end of the year, all of the awards were being given out to the star players. However it was not only the star players that received the awards. All of the players received an award and that was the beauty behind the sports community. Sure winning is great and there is always praise given to those that are the best but in this community, you were praised just for doing your best. This community would give recognition to every player because it is all about the team. The saying “there is no I in team” is exactly what I am talking about. The community knew that every player was vital to the function of the team as a whole so every player deserved to become recognized by all. Towards the end of the banquet I heard my name called. I had just won the coach of the year award. This came as a complete surprise to me and when I walked to receive my award, I was hit with an overwhelming sense of pride. All of the parents and kids were clapping and watching me walk to the stage to accept the award. This was the moment when I first realized that the sports community was a place I belonged in. The undying support from the community was what kept me striving to become the best that I could be so that one day I could give back everything that they have given to me.

Swimming also welcomed me with open arms. After just one year of hard practice and learning all of the different strokes, I was picked to be captain of the varsity team for my high school\. My coach saw a natural talent in me that I didn’t even see in myself. I was given the motivation to become the best that I could be. The support from both of my coaches gave me the motivation and the drive to do things that I could have never seen myself doing before. For instance, after my coach sat me down and told me the future that she saw for me, I automatically began to train harder. I would start waking up at five o’clock in the morning to swim some laps before school. Also since I had weight lifting classes every year, I decided to change up my entire workout routine. I wanted to create a workout that would give me an advantage once I stepped in that pool. I began to focus a lot of my time on my legs which is usually a part of the body that a lot of people don’t give attention to. Now why did I do all of this? Why was a willing to sacrifice sleep and energy just for a sport? Well it all comes back to that the sport was bigger than just myself. This entire community gave me support right from the start. This community had expectations placed upon me and I was not willing to let them down. I knew that I needed to uphold my community. After only a few weeks of my new routines, I could notice the seconds dropping off my times. I was dropping second like it was a bad habit. My coach couldn’t believe her eyes. With all of the drive from my coach and my team, I felt like there wasn’t a single person that could beat me. That year I went undefeated in the hundred meter breast stroke. The sports community gave me a lot of determination to give this newfound sport a try and this is what caused me to become such a success at swimming. With such a strong foundation laid with soccer, the adrenaline rush from swimming was no stranger. When I would

step up on that block, it was as if the entire world went silent. It was like it was just me, the water, and that heavenly buzzer that would tell me when to do what I did best. I cannot sum up in words what the sports community means to me. This community shaped me into the man that I am today. With my father also being an avid sports player and spectator, this community created a bond between my father and me that I cherish every day. Sports are something that my father and I would away do together. Every Sunday, we would both sit in front of the television and watch football, or baseball or even basketball. Even though the silence in the room would only be broken by the occasional yell, we both cherished those times together. To this day, I still always watch the Sunday football games and then call my dad after to talk about what happened. When I grow older and finally decide to have children, I will definitely expose them to the world of sports because I want to be able to pass on the ideals that the sports community placed upon me. I not only want to keep the sports community thriving but I also want to pass on the morals that the community has given to me and keep those morals for the coming generations. I want them to be able to see the community that I grew up in and I want to give them the opportunity to have the same experiences that I had. Experiences that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. The sports community has become my backbone. It has become a place where I can go to escape this fast paced life we live in now. It is not only my community, but it is also my home.

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