It was a hot summer morning in July of 2017 and if you asked me, I would say that it was “the most scorching day” I ever experienced, and we had football practice. It wasn’t all fun because we had to run, we were pressured to run extra because we had failed to beat the stipulated time. For me the day had started out in a not so fascinating manner, I had stayed up late the night before practicing for my music recital that was to hold two days ahead forgetting I had to be up by 6 am to prepare for practice that starts at 7 am. And so, I found myself waking up at 6:45 am with little time to freshen up I instantly put on my practice clothes, grabbed my phone and ordered a ride I left the house without having breakfast. Usually, it took about 30 minutes to get to school but this ride seemed like it was going to take forever. I kept checking my phone as I could see the “where are you @” texts from my teammates. I got to school at 7:30 am and dashed from the parking lot straight to the locker room to grab my football cleats. “I am toast” I kept saying to myself as I made my way to the field. “Sam”,” the coach yelled my name as I made my way to through the track unto the field. “I don’t care about why you’re late just hit the floor and give me a hundred pushups”, he said while looking at the playbook. I had just completed the one hundred pushups when I heard we had to join the offense in running the 400 meters. The offense needed a new quick tempo style to adapt to thus the need to run more. So, we (defense) had to run 15 sets of 400 meters. We got going, coaches yelling in the background for us to pick up the pace, so we had to run harder. At the 13th lap we failed to make the time and so we had two extra laps to run. We had gotten to the 16th Set when I realized that Josh wasn’t running well, I guess he had pulled a muscle or was cramping. I had been putting in extra hours of running after practice and so I had ‘more in the tank’, I slowed down took Josh’s arm and rested it on my shoulder as we made our way through the last lap of the 400 meters. We got to the finish line and Josh looked at me and said, “thank you, bro.” Well, it didn’t really make a mark on me at first but was happy to help a friend and a teammate in need. Drill stations had been set up whilst we were running and had a minute of water break and then jumped straight into the drills. Minutes into drills coach had a personal call that he required his attention, with his assistant absent he singled me out to handle the drills and control the defense. I had no knowledge of how to do this, but I couldn’t let coach down. Here I was a sophomore trying to organize a bunch of unruly football players who mostly were older than I was, and some were seniors. As I did my best to control and workout with the group, I noticed there wasn’t any motivation amongst many of us and this would make us look bad and get us punished. I called a timeout which they were reluctant at first to adhere to, but they ultimately did and had to remind my teammates of the primary purpose of all that we were doing which was to win the state championship. Our absence in the running for the state championship made us the laughing stock in the district, and we had been challenged by the principle the year before to ‘change the narrative’, ‘to compete’ and ‘fight for pride.’ This little pep talk seemed to spur the guys on, and we had a very intense and competitive practice. Coach got ahold of what had happened and called me into his office, he said: “fine work you did today Sam, that’s what leaders do they take charge, they motivate, and they inspire.” I was pleased to know I left a very good impression on my coaches and teammate that day. It was a long and grueling summer, but I had grasped a lot about what it took to be a leader. Regrettably, we didn’t win the State Championship, but we enjoyed a more remarkable season. This experience encouraged me to find pride in the growth of my team, and this has improved my views on what being a leader really is.
What is a moment or event in your life that has helped to shape you?
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