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"Cross-country passion" - (significant event), Common App Essay

scottdw92 1 / -  
Oct 21, 2010   #1
Common App Essay, Topic: Evaluate a significant event and its impact on you.

Bang! The starting gun went off. Hundreds of feet trampled over a grass field. Every face was set with determination. Everyone had a reason to leave it all on the course. In those first few seconds of the race, my memory flashed back on the beginning of my running career, and the setbacks I have faced in it.

I began running in middle school. I was only interested in running because my friends were doing it. I was an average runner during this time. I did desire to improve and ultimately wanted to win, but this was not the reason I fell in love with running. I fell in love with running when I felt the troubles of life fall behind and the sweet breath of Mother Nature overwhelm me. I felt so free, as if I could go anywhere in the world I wanted. With each run, I felt more at home, more alive.

This passion I developed led me to cross country once I began high school. Unfortunately, I did not get off to a good start. Freshman year I suffered from tendonitis in my hips and knees. This did not completely debilitate me, but I knew in my heart I had a much higher potential than what my performance showed. Sophomore year I was steadily improving, until two weeks before the Regional, when I pulled a muscle in my leg. Another season was ended, but I knew I had two more and my time would come. I began my junior year with my mind set on running with my team at state. We had five varsity seniors that would graduate, so I knew we would have a hard time getting to state my senior year. In my mind, this season was do-or-die.

The adrenaline pumping through my veins was blocking any discomfort. I moved with the pack around the first flag, and then up a hill. I was feeling invincible, but knew I had to be careful not to go too fast, as this high would not last forever. I still had one team member within sight, but in the shifting of the dozens of runners around me, I lost track of him. I was on my own now, but I was ready for anything. Five-minute, fifteen-second mile split, I was a little fast. The adrenaline was starting to wear off, and so the pain set in. In the most painful moments, when my mind wanted to give in, I reminded myself of why I run, and how it makes me a better person.

I do not believe running is just another sport or pastime. Running, specifically cross country, instills many valuable attributes in a person, myself included. Discipline, as well as commitment, comes from following a schedule, and set guidelines. Our coach advises us to cut soda and junk food out of our diets. While this can be very challenging, I believe it is completely worth it. The willpower one develops in cross country stays with them for the rest of their lives. Anther positive character trait I have found to be inflicted by running is determination. Personally, the way I set goals for cross meets has translated well into other aspects of my life. I know if I fail to get the grade I want, or if I am unable to attain some other goal, I can focus and work hard to accomplish anything.

This November day was a bit warm, over seventy degrees. A normal state cross country meet would be a gray, hot-chocolate kind of day. I was feeling the effect of the heat as ran my second mile. I had to shrug it off, however, as there were no second chances today. I kept this in mind as I tried to stay on pace. The two-mile mark finally arrived; I crossed at ten minutes, 32 seconds. I was very content, I was still on pace. As I continued into my third and final mile, my mind once again wandered. I thought about how I had matured over my high school career. I was realizing how running had done more for me than I could have imagined.

Leadership, a trait valuable in and out of sports, is something I have gained from running. I had the opportunity to be a captain of my cross country team this year. I have learned a great deal about myself in performing my duties. Every day I am responsible for attending and leading practices. I motivate my teammates, and make sure we are all working towards our potential. Over the season, I have learned how I lead in times of disappointment and frustration, as well as in times of joy and contentment. Whenever we, as a team, do not perform as well as we would have liked, I find myself being optimistic. I console my teammates and assure them we will bounce back. As a freshman, I remember that I was the one needing the consoling. I would let the grief overtake me and it would affect my performance even more. But, as a senior and captain, I have matured and learned the power of perseverance.

Ok, now I had to focus. I had three quarters of a mile left in the race. This was where I had to just gut it out to the finish, as my coach would say. The strength in my legs was rapidly declining at this point, but I had been expecting it to. I tried to keep my pace. My legs started burning as I rounded the last flag and headed up the final hill. I overtook several competitors, and then I was passed by a few others. I saved up just enough energy to sprint the last two hundred meters. No one passed me from then on. And at last, I crossed the finish line, nearly collapsing from exhaustion. But, I did not fall. I managed to stumble over to our coach, and waited there for my teammates. I was not concerned with my time, or my place. I knew I had accomplished my goal. I had left everything I had out on the course.
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Oct 26, 2010   #2
I want to suggest a little change in the first para:
Bang! The starting gun went off. Hundreds of feet trampled over a grass field. Every face was set with determination. Everyone had a reason to leave it all on the course. In those first few seconds of the race, my memory flashed back on the beginning of my running career, and the setbacks I have faced in it. (Add a statement here that expresses the main idea of the essay)

Above, I crossed out a sentenced that seemed like one-too-many short sentences.

Read through this and look for what makes it unique. What makes it more than just an essay about the experience of running. Whatever that is, express it at the end of that first paragraph.


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