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Loosely the "Indicate a person with significant influence" Common App Prompt

swimspaz14 1 / 1  
Sep 18, 2010   #1
This is a response to "Indicate a person who has had a significant influence on you, and describe that influence." But I also incorporated the "Important object and its meaning to you" because its appropriate. It can either be a Common App choice three or six. I noticed at a volleyball game the other night that I get the chills when the song plays. I might try to get that in the essay at some point. I would just like to hear what people who have never met me think of it and whether its 700-800 word length should be chopped down some. Criticism would be greatly appreciated. My skin has thickened some since my friend passed so don't feel restricted.

O! say can you see by the dawn's early light,

I stand and watch five and six year olds swarm the pool edge, waiting for the song to cease and the meet to start. I've risen at six every Saturday morning to compete for fourteen years and for fourteen years I've worn a not-so-comfortable Speedo - but I got over that quite some time ago.

What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming,

I stand, with my hand over my heart, a few feet in front of my reserved seat on the bench and see the flag above and the starters before me. My eyes drift to the seven feet eleven and three-quarters inch high net and the referee holding the virgin volleyball under his arm. I would be on the court had Fate not interjected late in my first year of playing.

Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,

The halogen pool lights are reflected by the bubbles my arms make as they enter and catch the water. My goggled eyes track these orbs as they slowly make their way back to the surface. What seems like a distraction is actually testimony to the state of my thinking mind. This focused realm is contrasted by an emotional mind running rampant. As I rifle off the last wall, I'm deaf to the cheers in the natatorium. I only hear the water rippling against my latex Cox High School cap - but I feel the pain a true loss instilled and the confidence a unique gift imparted.

O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?

Fancying myself a professional statistician and the official team cheerleader, I meticulously register digs, passes, sets, and spikes while squirming and jumping out of my seat. I practically execute the skills myself just as a children's chorus teacher all but sings her cherubs the songs. By the end of the match, I am regularly more weary and sweaty than the players themselves, for I jump around and scream while wearing a dress shirt and tie.

And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,

Shedding droplets of water with each step, I walk to my black drag suit covered with yellow smiley faces pressed against the floor and wall. The separation anxiety lifts as I put the only-slightly-more-modest cover suit over my Speedo. My racing suits can be replaced - but this drag suit can not.

Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there;

But there are subliminal reasons for my sweat saturated clothing. I swear I am more zoned than most of the actual players. I can only give mental commitment to volleyball following my injury. Choosing between a newly acquired passion and an old simmering love affair after throwing my shoulder out spiking a ball has proved to be the most agonizing and frustrating decision in my sporting career. The excitement of spiking a volleyball directly to the floor and the thrill of edging a rival out at the touchpad were both pulling me in opposite directions.

O! say does that star-spangled banner yet wave

When I was a freshman on the Cox swim team, the senior I looked up to the most was a guy named Greg Weiner. Greg hadn't been your typical senior on the swim team. He was the only senior interested in building relationships with the underclassmen. Being a freshman myself, I gladly embraced his extended hand and watched as, through emulation, I slowly shed my inhibitions and gained respect among the upperclassmen. Only five months before my shoulder dislocation, Greg died. The previous year he gave me the drag suit at the end of swim season during the traditional senior gift ceremony.

O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

Even though I am relegated to the sidelines during volleyball in the fall, once winter and swim season rolls around, I revel in my decision. Had I continued playing volleyball, I would have popped my shoulder out of place again. My joint would have become too loose for me to be an effective swimmer. Yes, I'm relatively faster in the water than I am on land, and, yes, I've been swimming since I was three, but I don't have a drag suit to wear on the volleyball court.
Shadow93 9 / 40  
Sep 20, 2010   #2
Your essay is either pure genius, or something a lot less. Honestly, I found it very hard to follow. Does the song serve a higher purpose than paragraph breaks? Did I miss the significant person or was there none at all? Does some of your sentences make sense and contribute to what you wish to say?

To be honest, I had to read your essay 3 times before I got what you were trying to say. Maybe its because your writing style is very fractured. Not that it is necessarily a bad thing, it just kinda confused me whether you wanted to talk about your volleyball, swimming, cheer leading, statistician, or something else.

I am not very familiar with volleyball and swimming, so maybe it's my fault, but perhaps you can try making your thesis clearer early on when you start the essay? I think it will be incredibly helpful if readers had a general idea what you are gonna talk about instead of them stumbling through the first 5 paragraphs.

Just something you can think about.~

Best of luck!
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Sep 20, 2010   #3
My goggled eyes track these orbs as they slowly make their way back to the surface.

Some sentences are crazy powerful. This is a good one...
This would be nice without the apostrophe:
just as a children's chorus teacher all but sings
just as a grade school chorus teacher all but sings...

Hey, this seems like a really inspired essay! I like the approach you took.
OP swimspaz14 1 / 1  
Oct 3, 2010   #4
O thanks Kevin! that slipped by me. the song serves as a break because everytime i hear it before every one of my sporting events, all of this hits me. but not explicitly, that would be crazy. it took me a while to separate it all out. i'm going to pair it with another essay which is more traditionally structured. but you would say that it isn't too informal?
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Oct 7, 2010   #5
Well... the unique approach you took is informal in the sense that it is different, but you have to be different in order to stand out. Yet, all readers think differently. It really is a guess you have to make...

the song serves as a break because everytime i hear it before every one of my sporting events, all of this hits me.

This would be a good thing to mention in the first paragraph, and it would help the reader to appreciate it and accept the approach you are taking.

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