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The Match-Deciding Goal - Common App Essay Prompt 2


Tmos 1 / -  
Oct 18, 2018   #1
Any suggestions, tips and edits are appreciated!

2. The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?

The Match-Deciding Goal



As I watched the football bounce off of my head and sink into the goal, my heart followed suit.

It was almost the end of the first half. Neither side had scored yet. This was the semi-final game of the last inter-school tournament of the year. Insignificant to most spectators - most significant to those they spectated. For every player on the field, it was our last chance to prove ourselves . It all came down to this moment. This was it.

I held my head high, sporting my usual calm. As the center-back and captain, I was the backbone of the team. A sudden interception, a swift turn, an ankle-twist later, I saw the ball lobbed high into the air. I locked onto it whilst jostling with the opposing team's striker. It bobbed and weaved in the air, inching nearer and nearer. It's trajectory suggested that it was going to go over my head. Regardless, with gritted teeth and stubborn pride, I leaped - instantaneous regret searing through me like Icarus' wings burning in the sun's flames - I rose too high and was about to come crashing down. The jump was mistimed and I felt the ball strike the top of my head. I turned around desperately, almost as if to turn the clock backwards. I made it just in time to see it float over our keeper. The referee's whistle screeched- it was an own goal.

Except, the story doesn't just end with me single-handedly crushing our chances at the tournament- although I did end up doing that.

The team huddled, field silent, air dense- like a packed mosque on a warm friday afternoon. Coach spat out instructions but my teammates looked on blankly. Their energy and spirits drained. Could I blame them? 1-0 down at half time due to an own goal by their so-called reliable captain. My friends avoided bringing it up - their sympathy must have been holding them back. I stared at my shoes the entire time. I felt like I had failed my team. But something had to be done. We didn't stand a chance with the team's morale being this low.

"Dost, are you sure you don't want to swap positions? I'm clearly doing a better job at scoring headers", I said to our striker with a cheeky grin. That snide comment earned me a few colorful names and slaps on my back. But I could not help but notice the smile tugging at the corner of my teammates' lips. That's all I needed. The atmosphere lightened. It was like that first breath of fresh air after leaving the mosque. We could give our all now.

I wish I could say that this rather dramatic rendition of my highschool tournament ended with our triumphant victory, but reality isn't that kind. I did, however, discover something about myself that would end up better equipping me for this not-so-kind reality. I realised that I could take whatever dismal situation life threw at me and swing back at it with my own twist.

What I learnt that day on the field is that we can't always control how things play out and sometimes they happen exactly opposite to how one hopes. However, we can control how we respond to these challenges. As for me, an unwavering smile and a touch of optimism does the job.

Holt [Contributor] - / 7,180 1785  
Oct 19, 2018   #2
Tahmeed, you have written a relevant essay but, you are using too many technical jargons in the essay. You must be conscious of the fact that the reviewer may not be a soccer buff and as such, your technical terms will be lost on him. Either explain the terms you are using, such an own goal, or use layman terms for these things. You could lose the attention of the reviewer if he finds himself lost while reading your essay. Since this is a highly soccer specific essay, you must do that. Keep it simple and understandable for the reader. Answer this question, "Why did your missed goal end up giving the other side a score?"

The essay is also running a bit too long and tends to get boring because you are too focused on involving the reader in the game instead of revealing and explaining what this failure taught you. That should be the major point of the essay. You are treating the presentation too lightheartedly on your part. The whole focus of the essay was completed in 2 sentences when it should be the most developed paragraph or paragraphs in this essay. You will need to edit the essay for content and relevance because of these errors in your presentation. Focus on the lesson more than the event or how the failure happened.


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