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'Best friends and long-time teammates' - Commonapp - Ethical Dilemma


carolynah92 3 / 13  
Dec 13, 2011   #1
This is for the main common application essay. I chose to write about an ethical dilemma. I do not know if this essay cuts it. I would appreciate all comments and help! Thank you very much!

Halfway through my junior basketball season, The Atlanta Chronicle featured Monique and me smiling on the front page of the "Athlete Spotlight" section. The article reads, "Best friends and long-time teammates complement each other and lead their team to victories." The headline, however, was as superficial as the ink it was written in. Beyond the smiles, the once flourishing relationship, on and off the court, was degrading into a dysfunctional dilemma.

The headline would have been accurate before the season when we were excited about the prospects of a successful year and attracting college scouts. For more than ten years, we had been best of friends who demonstrated teamwork. But that season, she began to compete more against me than our opponents. In order to gain attention from scouts, she fixated on scoring at the expense of our team's play. Off the court, she became very distant. She would rarely greet me in school hallways and did not seem to enjoy my company. In addition, her once welcoming family began hunting me down after games to accuse me of selfish play. They would also complain that I needed to pass to Monique more. I did not understand their reasoning because Monique was already taking more shots than any two players combined. The whole situation made me very sad. I hated controversy and the thought of losing a friend.

Putting personal issues aside, Monique's play presented a predicament for the team. I had been the point guard and on court leader for three years. I had dealt with adversity before, but I had never faced such a team debilitating issue. I was not immune to the same selfish instincts as Monique because I loved basketball and put so much work into it. I wanted a reward for practicing four hours a day, and I, too, aspired to attract scouts and play at the college level. I had to decide whether to retaliate by focusing on my own scoring, or take on the task of confronting Monique and attempting to regain successful teamwork.

Playing selfishly would have only increased tensions and contradicted my values. Teamwork is imperative, and individual goals are subordinate to the collective good. Avoiding the problem would have been easiest, but not attempting to remedy the situation would have been a cowardly failure of leadership. After thorough introspection, I decided to take a stand.

I tried talking to Monique privately, but our conversations were only partially effective. After our worst effort of the season, teammates complained to me about Monique, and my frustration had reached its apex. I needed to try harder to make a change. The next night, I delivered a speech to the team before our game. I tried to speak as passionately as possible while maintaining a positive message. First, I encouraged the team to play calmly and confidently since we had gotten down early in the last few games. Then, I praised each individual for her strengths. I told one of our forwards how she could help us by enforcing her great strength in the paint. I told Monique she was an exceptional player and to take the open shots, but to also practice patience. I encouraged her to work the ball around until she or someone else could get an open shot. I concluded by emphasizing smart play, hustle, communication, and teamwork because these attributes would lead us to victory. My comments were well received, and we played an excellent game. Although we lost by three points, the game was a progression because Monique improved her play, and a lack of teamwork was not our limiting factor.

Soon after this game; however, Monique reverted back to forcing up shots. By that point, I thought I had given substantial effort and that only intrinsic motivation would change her play. Looking back, I should have been more blunt and honest with Monique, but, instead, I gave up and played out the season as best I could. Our team did finish with a good record and made the state play-offs. Notwithstanding this success, I feel regret when I think about how much better our team could have been if we had truly worked together.

My mom counted down from three as Monique and I paused our celebration to take a picture. We were flaunting our ten and under league championship trophies with great enthusiasm. I'm glad my mom captured that moment and countless others of Monique and me, so I can always hold onto the good memories. As for the bad memories, I have forgiven Monique, and we are still friends, but, unfortunately and inevitably, less of friends than we once were. I only hold onto this experience so I will handle future altercations better. I hope to address issues boldly with open communication.
leviator 7 / 39  
Dec 14, 2011   #2
Playing selfishly would have only increased tensions and contradicted my values. Teamwork is imperative, and individual goals are subordinate to the collective good. Avoiding the problem would have been easiest, but not attempting to remedy the situation would have been a cowardly failure of leadership. After thorough introspection, I decided to take a stand.

Try rearranging the first and second sentence, like this:
Teamwork is imperative, and individual goals are subordinate to the collective good. Playing selfishly would have only increased tensions and contradicted my values.
Avoiding the problem would have been easiest, but not attempting to remedy the situation would have been a cowardly failure of leadership. After thorough introspection, I decided to take a stand.

After our worst effort of the season, teammates complained to me about Monique, and my frustration had reached its apex.

I told Monique she was an exceptional player and asked her to take the open shots.

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I think you should work a little more on your ending, talk a little bit about how you will go about similar situations if they should arise.

Otherwise, it's a nice essay. :)
java4u 3 / 8  
Dec 14, 2011   #3
I agree with Leviator. Talk more about the future. THe lessons that you learned in this dillema should be something you can use and put forth towards your future goals and ambition. Besides this, I like the essay; it's very specific :) Good Luck!


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