Do titles count as part of the 500 word limit?
Prompt: We know that nobody fits neatly into 500 words or less, but you can provide us with some suggestion of the type of person you are. Anything goes! Inspire us, impress us or just make us laugh. Think of this optional opportunity as show and tell by proxy and with an attitude.
A LEAP INTO THE UNKNOWN
When I signed up for my high school's diving team as a freshman, I never expected how much the sport would change me.
During the summer before entering high school, I first fell in love with the feeling of weightlessness I experienced when I flew off the diving board into the air and the adrenaline rush I felt after successfully completing a new dive for the first time. Defying the laws of gravity and flipping more times in midair than I thought was humanly possible only added to my excitement. Before I could continue doing what I loved however, I first had to overcome my fear of being outside of my comfort zone. With uncharacteristic courage, I overlooked my aversion to throwing myself into the unknown and entered the pool, not knowing anyone else there. This single action opened the door to an abundance of new experiences that are now an inseparable piece of my identity, and not once have I regretted my decision.
Diving has enhanced my self-confidence in innumerable ways. Overcoming my initial qualms about trying something new proved that I could face any challenge. Rather than shying away from competition, I now welcome the thrill of performing under pressure. It has been exhilarating to watch myself improve with every year and learn harder dives, and knowing that I am capable of accomplishing any feat with determination, patience, and hard work. Difficult workouts also brought my teammates and I closer together. Belonging to a team allowed me to form relationships with friends I would otherwise have not met.
Diving also requires sacrifices and self-discipline. For the past four years, I have had to wake up at 5:00 a.m. three days a week for morning practice. Only a passion for the sport and a strong commitment to my team could have motivated me, a life-long night owl, to get out of bed everyday. Maintaining excellent grades during the season was another challenge. Completing homework on time required focus and forced me to learn when to ignore distractions. Reevaluating my priorities was necessary for me to succeed in school and diving simultaneously. Diving has taught me the value of willpower; whether I push myself to finish a workout while my coach is not watching or to learn an intimidating new dive, I know the reward will make the pain worthwhile.
As my final high school diving season came to an end this November, I realized that even the best of times must end. I consider joining the diving team one of the most valuable decisions I have made. The lessons I have learned, the memories I have created, and the friends I have met will stay with me forever. Although I will miss the sport next year, I look to the future with optimism and excitement, because I know that there will be many more live-changing opportunities in store for me. As I learned as a freshman, taking a risk opens up a whole new world of possibilities.