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UC Prompt #2: Heart of a Warrior


Mgaldamez 1 / 4  
Nov 24, 2009   #1
Hello, here is my first essay written for the UC application. I tried to be original in what I wrote and how I wrote it. Please let me know if it does not address all parts of the prompt and if you think anything sounds cheesy or cliché! Thanks in advance!

Tell us about a personal quality, talent, accomplishment, contribution or experience that is important to you. What about this quality or accomplishment makes you proud and how does it relate to the person you are?

I am ten.

I dart across the field, my cleats kicking up grass and dirt, looking for an opening where my teammate could pass the ball through. Making sure to kick with the inside of his foot, he passes me the ball. Determined to score a goal, I hastily pass the ball back to my goalie, only to realize he's not paying attention. The ball slides into the goal. My team's goal. I smack my forehead with my palm. At least I wouldn't go goal-less.

During a practice later that season, after a series of difficult drills, I recall our coach telling us, "Misael might not have the skills that some of you have, but he has the heart of a warrior." I thought no more about what the coach had said. I knew I wasn't great. What else was new?

I am fifteen.

It's a Thursday night and I'm at the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu studio. Soccer now a thing of the past, I am enthralled with my new sport. Every aspect of Jiu-jitsu fascinates me: the hip movement, the joint locks, the chokes. In impatience, I sit on the edge of the mat and wait to be assigned a sparring partner. The master finally gets to me and pairs me with Collin, a twelve-year-old yellow belt.

But Collin's not an ordinary kid. He trains with the best and consequently, is the best. Anxiety quickly replaces my excitement. We shake hands and begin to spar.

I let Collin throw guard, carefully avoiding submissions. I thrust my elbows in Collin's thighs and try to open his guard. No dice. I thrust harder, finally prying it open. I hop over and slide into side control. Chills run up my back. Suddenly, my momentum is countered by a flurry of legs, rolling me sideways and pulling me into a calf-crusher. Euphoria becomes pain. I tap. We get up. "Good job," Collin says coldly. I nod my head and keep training, hoping to one day submit him.

I am sixteen.

I've traded Jiu-Jitsu for wrestling. An entirely different dynamic, I am forced to relearn basics. Guard position becomes referee's position. Submissions become pinning combinations.

Butterflies swarm my stomach at my first tournament. My name is called over the loudspeaker and I hesitatingly walk onto the mat. I shake hands with my opponent, noting his red singlet the bulging blue vein on his forearm.

The whistle blows and my feet shuffle forward. A flash of red sweeps towards me and my body crashes to the mat. Two point takedown. In an attempt to escape, my knees come up, but all too soon, my body crashes to the mat a second time. This time, my arm is quickly lifted and tweaked, exposing my back to the mat. Unable to escape, my opponent pins me. I get up, shake hands, and keep my chin up high. There would always be another match.

Since then, I have come to a realization.

Every loss I've ever experienced, every sport I've ever played, every practice I've ever been to, is me.

Soccer is my celebration in failure.

Jiu-Jitsu is my prudence.

Wrestling is my fundamentals, my moral compass.

Each lesson, each sport, commanded my total focus, determination, and patience.

I'm not even quite sure what kept me going. I was never the skilled athlete, nor the most fit. I lost more often than I won. Just what exactly was it?

Some might just say I have the heart of a warrior.
twizzlestraw 12 / 95  
Nov 25, 2009   #2
I let Collin throw guard, carefully avoiding submissions. I thrust my elbows in Collin's thighs and try to open his guard. No dice. I thrust harder, finally prying it open. I hop over and slide into side control. Chills run up my back. Suddenly, my momentum is countered by a flurry of legs, rolling me sideways and pulling me into a calf-crusher. Euphoria becomes pain. I tap. We get up.

- What happened? For those of us who don't know what "tap" is... Also, I would use the pronoun he once or twice instead of Collin three times.

Interesting essay! I like your conclusion, and the atypical way you outlined it. However, until the conclusion, I'm not sure where your essay is going. It just seems like a bunch of random descriptions. Maybe an introductory line or paragraph, that explained the direction of your essay would help.

Also, and maybe this could be accomplished in the introduciton, try to tie your life events together before the conclusion. Maybe use an explaination of why you quit and then chose such and such a sport as a transition. I don't know how you want to do it, but right now it seems a bit choppy.

I like it though.
MonsieurWise 2 / 21  
Nov 26, 2009   #3
Interesting essay indeed! I do think this format work, because I read a similar "model" essay in John Hopkins page. I really like this format, fresh, light and new. I actually look for a way to use this format in my essay, but i could not find anything fit, so I gave up the idea =P.

One thing though: I think you should use only one sport throughout the essay, telling how many times you lost (colleges are not gonna know), each time a different kind of defeat (1st time in practice, 2nd time in tournament...ect). That would give your essay more dept and show your passion for the sport (passion is very important O.o), that you will not give up no matter what.

Yeah, it's good! That's what I think. Thanks for editing my essay :PP.
Nandra 2 / 12  
Nov 26, 2009   #4
I think this is an excellent essay. I just wanted to add a counterpoint to MonsieurWise's points, actually - I see what he means about the advantages of focusing on a single sport, but I'd say that your approach is both more original and more meaningful. It shows growth and breadth, and also neatly demonstrates how time is passing.

Just my two cents. If you have the time, I'd really appreciate feedback on my own essay - it's a little ways down the page.


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