In Kindergarten, my teacher used to sit me at the table with all the rambunctious, troublesome boys. Apparently, I used to act as the peacekeeper; I kept them under control. As I got older, I earned the nickname, “The Great Humanitarian” from my mother and aunt, because of my endearing tendency to sacrifice myself for others. And now, as a high school senior, I have become known as “The Pageant Queen” in my World Humanities Literature class, because typically, my classroom responses have something to do with world peace or widespread empathy. I think it can be said that I value genuine kindness and compassion over everything.
This “obsession” with empathy I have developed seeps into everything I do, from my academics, to my athletics to my social life. Specifically, in my junior year water polo season, this attribute became perhaps more important than ever before. Team sports split into junior varsity and varsity teams cannot exist without drama over who is which one; each team holds certain connations. When assigned to the JV team my junior year, I wasn’t all that disappointed, because I expected nothing more. Contrary to the beliefs of my teammates, I saw nothing wrong with JV. Because I was a capable water polo player and an upperclassman, JV meant that I would get more playing time in games and get to be a leader of newcomers. I made the best of my situation, I worked as hard as I could and I expressed a positive outlook while many of my teammates on JV practiced and played with reluctance and anger. It was because of this that I was moved up to varsity half-way through the season, along with another teammate. While I was ecstatic and proud, I knew this would create a rough environment. Members of JV took their jealousy and frustration out on me and my teammate, excluding us and talking about us. Members of varsity, being the tight knit group that they were, were not so keen to allow two less experienced players into their routine. There was an amount of time that passed where my teammate and I were outcasts.
This essay is not meant to be a discussion of social isolation. It is meant to be positive. The JV girls got over it; my teammate and I eventually became very close with all the varsity girls; all was well. By the end of it all, I was the same boy taming, self-sacrificial, peace loving person that I had always been. I stuck to my natural tendency to be kind and positive, and worked through the difficulties that came along. And in my opinion, that is all one can do. I do not expect to save the world by being nice, but I know that I can contribute something to society with this view. Water polo season was just one giant metaphor for how if you are kind, persevering and positive, you can achieve the largest of things, while being a happier, more self-confident person.