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"The Captain" - Harvard Supplement- The prompt is write about anything

sm09 1 / 17  
Dec 27, 2011   #1
"The Captain"

Like in every African country, soccer is played and practiced with such dedication one might assume it's one of the several religions practiced on the continent. In Zimbabwe, my brothers and I used to play soccer in the streets from dawn till dusk with each of us dreaming of becoming the next Pele. Our soccer balls were handily crafted with plastic bags and newspapers. , talk about recycling. In our neighborhood streets we were nicknamed, "madhara madhara"- the unstoppables because we had won our local 3 v 3 tournaments for five consecutive years. Soccer was our altar and we all aspired to one day win the world cup for our country, just as we had conquered our neighbors.

On the 20th of March, 2006, our dream looked possible when one day our father walked in the living room and said, "Mwari ari ko, tiri kuenda ku America!" maybe you should say what this means We all started crying as we realized that our lives were forever changed. For the next four months we practiced soccer about 4-5 hours a day with the assurance that the opportunity was there and our success depended solely on how much we wanted to grab it. In July , we finally moved to the USA. During our early days , we spent most weekends playing soccer in local parks, but this time with real soccer balls, cleats and on green grass.

Because of the skills we had acquired playing on the streets of Harare, Zimbabwe , it was no surprise that my two older brothers qualified for the varsity team as sophomores. As varsity players, my brothers often complained about the unfair selective treatment of players, especially, those of Hispanic origin. Two years later when I enrolled in High School, I too qualified for the varsity team as a freshman. As a player , I too began to notice the disparate treatment of players, but I too also was to scared to speak out. Unfortunately, because of this the varsity team often failed to reach the top, despite having capable and talented players. My brothers and I informed my father about this but he advised us not to say anything as we were new to the town and didn't want to cause any controversy. My brothers then graduated from high school and went on to play college soccer. Following our father's advice, I didn't speak up against the unjust treatment of my fellow teammates. My junior year, my teammates voted me as team captain.

My brothers and I were never ill-treated, I guess because we were looked at as the stars of the team. Now as the new team captain, I asked myself how I could turn a blind eye to such issues. Prayer was not enough. I was plagued with internal strife. I often stayed up at night contemplating my childhood dream, the scholarships, awards and recognition that soccer brought me at my school in Zimbabwe and the scholarships I hoped to receive through soccer at my current high school. One day I decided enough was enough, and decided to approach ed the coach. Not fully aware of what my actions could lead to, I voiced my concerns. Twice I left the coach's office with promises which would go unfulfilled. The third time I was removed from the team. My teammates, their parents and I approached the athletics school and district authorities, but to our anguish, the subsequent investigation found, "there was no intentional discrimination", despite all the players in the program and some teachers acknowledging there was. We were advised to take up the issue legally. Somehow along the way, "committed" support from the Hispanic parents and players was not forthcoming, making our case difficult. Later I discovered that some of the parents of the Hispanic players were threatened, for reasons that were not obvious to me then, thus making our case difficult.

Initially I was devastated, not only had I failed to resolve my teammates' problems but most probably, I had also lost my childhood dream of becoming the next Pele. However, in retrospect, I don't look at the resolution pessimistically. Since the incident , former teammates and parents have thanked me saying the dynamics have changed and the coach is treating everyone fairly. This experience taught me the true meaning of leadership. If I could go back in time, I wouldn't change a thing. After the incident, one of the parents texted me, "You might not play soccer in high school but what you did is the most honorable thing that I have seen a 17 write this out year old do. You fought and stood up for my child even though you were not discriminated against. You not only taught my child a lesson but my husband and I also. Thank you Simba." Looking back , I do not look at the resolution negatively but price it because of the change it made.

With this experience and my experiences in Zimbabwe, I decided to pursue an internship in the summer of my rising senior year at Mike Magana's law firm in order to explore a career in law. At the law firm, I shadowed Mike Magana, defense attorney, and accompanied him to court room sessions. The intern ship solidified my career interest.

Though I do not regret or look at my soccer experience negatively, I value it because it taught me that one plus one is not always equal to two. In contrast my law internship showed me a career that makes one plus one equal to two. At Harvard, I hope to continue playing soccer while studying to gain a degree in law so that I can help and empower individuals like my fellow teammates.
karissa_a16 4 / 94  
Dec 27, 2011   #2
There's some grammatical errors and I think you could condense it a little. It definitely shows your character! Please read mine?
blynnleon 4 / 9  
Dec 27, 2011   #3
Since the incident former teammates and parents have thanked me saying the dynamics have changed, the coach is treating everyone fairly.

Something about this sentence sounds awkward to me consider revising and checking for errors.

After the incident, one of the parents texted me, "You might not play soccer in high school but what you did is the most honorable thing that I have seen a 17 year old do. You fought and stood up for my child even though you were not discriminated against. You not only taught my child a lesson but my husband and I also. Thank you Simba." If I could go back in time, I wouldn't change a thing.

The sentences from "If... thing." feel awkward coming after the quote. Maybe you should conclude on the effect you had and how you are proud of it regardless of losing your possible career then go into those two sentences.

btw overall your essay is great!! It is very you!
BigBoob15 4 / 17  
Dec 27, 2011   #4
I like your essay, it shows your passion and interest in soccer and how your experience has influenced your decision to study law, but I agree with karissa_a16 it should be condensed.
watermark 2 / 15  
Dec 27, 2011   #5
I really love your essay. Quite unique. It is also flowing well. Great job!

Good luck!
deremifri 9 / 137  
Dec 28, 2011   #6
One suggestion: If you leave this quote like it is, it sounds as if you are seeking opportunity to praise yourself. So either
find a way to connect it to the rest or omitt it.
two times making it dfficult in a row
The first sentence of the conclusion does not make sense. Not regreting something is no contrast to valuing it, isn't it?
The true meaning of leadership part is really strong.
Other than that good flow, and smooth progression.

If you like, the bottom of my movie page has a very short essay. I d like to hear your opinion.
goalgir4 1 / 7  
Dec 28, 2011   #7
I dont understand the one plus one metaphor. you should explain or make that more clear.
talk about your experience when you approached the coach. maybe add some dialogue to break up the wordyness off the essay.
did you move to America? that's what it sounds like in your essay, but you never explain your transition to whatever new place you are in now, just about what you experienced in zimbabwe.

overall i think you need to fill some holes in the essay. look it over again, maybe read it to someone to see if the story makes sense because sometimes i was confused reading it but....

i really like your ideas/story and i think itll be a good essay when finished.
karissa_a16 4 / 94  
Dec 28, 2011   #8
For a supplement, I think this is a tad long. You could get your point across with fewer words.
DesiGirl 9 / 52  
Dec 28, 2011   #9
WOW; AMAZINGGGGG essay. I don't think it's too long; I think it's very well written and it really captures your character. Plus the whole soccer+law idea will tell admissions that you have multiple interests, which I'm sure you're good at :) Wonderful job!!!
wya7890 2 / 15  
Dec 28, 2011   #10
Great essay :) You show adept manipulation of words to get your message across in a powerful way.
The only thing I wasn't sure about was the "one plus one" bit. If you could elaborate on that, it would make the essay even better than it is now.

Good luck with your apps!
admiraljes 2 / 14  
Dec 28, 2011   #11
Given the fact that the prompt is "write about anything", I'd say this is a very good story. You let your personality come through and I can see your goals and aspirations. I would say that trimming it down a bit would be better, but otherwise, I would have no problem keeping this essay and submitting it. All the best with Harvard!
Musicforleisure 3 / 33  
Dec 28, 2011   #12
Hi! I think it's a very good essay!
A few suggestions here:
-delete some "one day" phrases cos sometimes they interfere with the flow of the essay

On the 20th of March, 2006, our dream looked possible when one day our father walked in the living room and said

Overall, it is nicely done.
But I guess, the last sentence could be made a bit stronger, though.

And maybe, you should add more personal anecdotes to vivify the essay.

I hope this helps : )
shelia1993 4 / 22  
Dec 28, 2011   #13
I really like the way you tell your story,and also the story itself. It is really impressive.
But I do think the story about what you did as a team captain is strong enough, and you do not have to add the internship.
prd93 2 / 7  
Dec 28, 2011   #14
I really think you need to jazz up your conclusion. Otherwise its fine. Check mine out...
admission2012 - / 481 90  
Dec 28, 2011   #15

I will be very harsh with you. This essay has so much potential and I firmly believe that if reworded it can be a powerful essay. However, there are so many things wrong that I do not know where to begin. First, Ill say the good points. Your story is good. It attempts to tell the story of trials and tribulations you have had and how you overcame them. However, that is about all the good I can say. Your biggest mistake is calling out an entire minority group - "Hispanics," without any substance backing up your assertions. You say that your team members were mistreated but you do not talk about any real mistreatment. Then you claim that you are a leader but show no real leadership. You stated "One day I decided enough was enough, and decided to approach the coach." As a leader there are several channels available to you. Did you try to speak with your teammates? Did you try other avenues to resolve the issues? Your only instinct was to approach the coach? While this is admirable, it doesn't show real leadership. To make matters worse, you allowed this experience to deter you from achieving your childhood dreams. While becoming the next Pele is a tall order, you did not persevere past this initial setback. This does not show determination. Harvard wants an applicant that is not only smart, but is determined and a leader. This essay needs to be heavily edited to present you in a more favorable light. admissions advice online

Hope This Helps
DeepaJ19 3 / 8  
Dec 28, 2011   #16
It's a very, very powerful essay. I just loved the flow of thoughts! But the end is a bit choppy. Could you alter that somehow?

Other than a few grammatical errors( do spell-check) I think it will bowl over the admissions officers!
zman9264 2 / 9  
Dec 28, 2011   #17
One concern: Could you explain a little more in the beginning how there was discrimination on the team? I love being able to infer, but I feel like you left too much up to interpretation. I would be less distracted if you would provide, say, an example of this discrimination.

Overall, well written piece. Good luck!
OP sm09 1 / 17  
Dec 28, 2011   #18
Thank you so much for the feedback everyone. I am re-editing it again.

Admissions2012, you are so right. I omitted so many things for example, I still practice and play soccer and I also talked to my teammates before approaching the coach.I will rewrite parts of it and post it here again.

Should I include the part about the internship and law??
4903abcd 1 / 9  
Dec 28, 2011   #19
I really like your story. There are some sentences that don't smoothly though.
For example, the sentences in the beginning seem too long. You might want to break it to make it succinct.
Otherwise, the content is really good and unique!
sarahbee 1 / 49  
Dec 28, 2011   #20
The story is great. I have a few suggestions.

- Maybe you should elaborate more on your connection between your soccer experience and the internship
- also you should elaborate more the "one plus one" metaphor or bring it up earlier in your essay so it doesn't seem so random

you've got the raw material for an amazing essay!

please return the favor :D
makman09 9 / 86  
Dec 29, 2011   #21
If this is the Common App essay, you need to drastically cut out words because the word limit for an essay is 500, and you're over twice that. Cut out details that you don't need because if you're applying to elite university which you are judging by your Harvard Supplement, then this essay will make you look really bad in front of the admission officers.

I understand 50-100 words above the limit, but when you are at a 1,158, that is just beyond crazy. When I read your essay, I noticed that were many clauses that you don't and you can still convey the same meaning. You got a lot of cutting to do tonight.
OP sm09 1 / 17  
Dec 29, 2011   #22
Its not the common app. Its the harvard supplement. there is no word limit for the supplement.
ChihiroLavi 4 / 52  
Dec 29, 2011   #23
I think it's well written but even there is no word limit, you should delete something 'cauz I really think the AO won't be that patient to finish reading your essay. It's good but I think you lack passion or something creative, like so many others you tell an experience in a so generic way. Do you think generic thing could get the attention of AO?

Also I couldn't feel so much feeling inside, "show', not "tell", I think you could make it more attractive to read. To be honest, I find it boring...
zmj7706 3 / 9  
Dec 29, 2011   #24
Like most other people saying, I feel that your essay is too long as a supplement essay. I do not think you have to describe every thing you have encounter, but just pick the most important point to elaborate. I noticed you write from your sophomore year to junior year. In stead of writing chronologically, maybe you could try to write in another order. Overall, I like your story relating to soccer, but it's just a little bit too long. I hope it will help. Good luck on your application.
Snowflakes 1 / 8  
Dec 29, 2011   #25
In Zimbabwe , like in every African country , soccer is played and practiced with such dedication one might assume it's one of the severalmain religions practiced on the continent . In Zimbabwe, My brothers and I used to play soccer in the streets from dawn till dusk, with each of us dreaming of becoming the next Pele.

Soccer was our altar, and we all aspired to one day win the world cup for our country, just as we had conquered our neighbors.

On the 20th of March, 2006, our dream looked possible when our father walked in the living room and screamed, "Mwari ari ko, tiri kuenda ku America!"What does this phrase mean?

It's really long. The concluding paragraphs about yourself are very strong, though. I like it :)
But you could cut some of the middle details out. For example, you could talk less about your brother's experience of discrimination in the team, and also your own. Choose only the most important points and elaborate on those. You don't need to repeat too much, and I think that the AO's will appreciate brevity. All you need to do is show how you were being discriminated, describe your internal struggle, and show what steps you took to fix this. Read through and cut out any extra information that doesn't support your essay. Don't feel too attached to your writing.

From Because of the skills we had acquired playing to thus leading to our stonewall there is some unnecessary repetition. That's the part you can cut down on, I think. But that's just my opinion. Feel free to ignore my advice :)
JackSparrow 2 / 8  
Dec 29, 2011   #26
Just some minor changes- I think you'll need to zoom in on the first picture to see the side comments/changes I made. Overall it was a good essay. I think that's what the AO want; to see who you are and you depicted that perfectly..

hamzaobaid 2 / 9  
Dec 29, 2011   #27
Overall , the originality in the essay is clear and that's a major plus point. However as everyone is saying the essay is way too long and you should bring it down to 700 max (in my opinion). also, i think that the ending disrupts the whole flow of the passage a bit although it's not that bad but you suddenly jump to internship from football. The rest I completely agree with Snowflake's comment. Cheers :)
andymarie 2 / 11  
Dec 29, 2011   #28
- I think you should be careful when mentioning races and terms or words you use. It is a very sensitive topic.
- The phrase where your dad said something in your language ("-----America!") admission officers might not know what that means.
- Work on your conclusion and especially the last sentence, 'cause I think that will help in making the essay more remarkable.
- The line...the one plus one thing...I don't think it's going to work unless you explain it(?). I didn't quite get the connection of you stating that you're planning to take law, like it just popped out. Write a sentence or two that connects it for the sake of the essay's flow.

- Nice story though. Post another revision of your essay applying the suggestions you liked. So people can see your progress and help you more.
Jaineel406 5 / 13  
Dec 29, 2011   #29
It's very good the story is good and I like how all those events added up to the law. However there are certain points that need to be looked upon again. I don't know if anyone said this but the claim you made about hispanics I felt that will have a very negative impact on your essay because you didn't state any real points describing how you were mistreated and why it they were getting better treatment that just looks like you also have a prejudiced view on them. Also the only real leadership quality you showed is stepping up on the end try and elaborate on certain leadership aspects you had while you were on the team and other incidents that forced you to make the decision of going up to the coach 3 times.

Please try and help with my brown supplements anyone THANKS
paw1168 3 / 7  
Dec 29, 2011   #30
Really good essay showing your character but the end was very abrupt.
I think you could create a paragraph devoted to how your internship has changed you.
I don't think you really need the part about your move to the US. The part about becoming a leader is compelling enough without your background.
cmaher92 2 / 9  
Dec 29, 2011   #31
When referring to the "USA" refer to it as the united states its more professional.
zaman 1 / 5  
Dec 30, 2011   #32
regardless of how it comes across as an admission essay, i think you have a very powerful and moving story to tell. it definitely touched me. it doesn't seem like it was written for admission, rather, you wrote from the heart. this is what makes your essay really stand out. word limit issues can be fixed, but please do try and hold on to the original spirit of the story. inspiring, indeed. all the best for university, and for life :)

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