“Hurry up! We are going to be late for your brother’s game.” Growing up, being in my family consisted of playing sports. Considering I was the youngest and the only girl, I was a bit of a tomboy. I dressed like a boy and I acted and played like one too. I really had no choice since I grew up with my two older brothers and ten plus boy cousins. Everyone was an athlete and since I was still too young to participate, I would still tag along and be their number one fan at their baseball, basketball, and football games. All I wanted to do was follow in their footsteps and play on a team just like them. At the time being, I was simply just too young, so I continued my training in the backyard or at the parks.

I did not get involved in my first sport until I was in the fourth grade, which was basketball. At that age, I was still too young to understand the benefits of participating in sports teams. I just wanted to do what I enjoyed the most, which was playing the sport. My two older siblings and the majority of my older cousins went to the same elementary school as I did and played basketball as well, so the coaches already had an idea who I was. At the arrival of the tryouts, I immediately felt discouraged and anxious because first of all it was my very first tryout and secondly, I noticed I was the only one in my grade trying out for the girls team. Regardless of that, I did not let that affect my chances and miss out on this opportunity. I ended up being the youngest one on the team that year. I continued my passion of playing basketball for the remaining years of elementary school until I entered junior high school.

There are many benefits accumulated from participating in team sports, or any extracurricular activities for that matter. The main asset I gained from team participation was building up my self esteem. At the start of junior high school, I decided to expand my interests and do something more than just athletics. Although I was still an athlete and played for my middle school basketball team, I opted out of my comfort zone and signed up for performing arts and was a part of the orchestra at Oaks Middle School. Completely oblivious to anything that had to do with music or performing arts, I was determined to learn how to play the viola. Like me, there were a handful of first timers. Playing a musical instrument is a great hobby. It is a perfect method of relaxation and in my opinion, very therapeutic. Joining an orchestra had to be one the most horrid yet best decisions I have made. Performing on the court or field was NOT the same as performing on a stage and doing so was a requirement and a part of my grade to perform in a concert.

It was no secret to anyone who knew me that I was shy. Whenever I was called on in class for the simplest thing, my face would turn bloodshot red knowing everyone’s eyes were on me. The concept of being on a stage in front of hundreds of people, playing an instrument I hardly even knew how to play was daunting and fearsome. The day of our concert, I was spiraling with endless emotions. I was excited because it was my very first concert, but also extremely nervous for the exact same reason. I did not know what to expect. Despite the perpetual hours of rehearsal, all I can be was pessimistic and think how this performance can be a prodigious disaster.  What if i forget how to read the notes; The bow can slip out of my hand; I could start playing at the completely wrong time. But I could not back out moments before our performance. This is exactly what I signed up for!

Orchestra

After we all tuned our instruments, we got into our appropriate seatings and awaited for our conductor to lift his baton and start his bodily movements that cued us when to start. At that very moment, once we all did our part and played as a team, I was shocked. I felt a great amount of intensity and confidence. After our first performance, I no longer feared it. Why would I fear something I enjoy doing?  I loved doing it and I looked forward to the intoxicating rush of emotion I had once we were done. The thrill of performing is hard to appraise and is something I will forever cherish and never forget.

Unfortunately, junior high school is where my passion of playing the viola ceased, but I was able to take that confidence and boost of self esteem I gained from my prior experiences to high school. In high school, I was a part of the varsity volleyball team, the dance team, vice president of a leadership program and a freshman mentor program. Throughout my whole entire life, I was always very hesitant when it came to participating in things I was not comfortable or familiar with. It takes courage and ambition and responsibility and many more attributes, but if you have any intentions of doing something, ANYTHING, that you are not sure of, just do it! You will never know the outcome until you have done it.