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[YRP Students' Essays] The Place You Think is Hell is Not Hell

What kind of situation is "hell" for you? It could be during class time, practice, exam, or another time. My personal hell was always during practice for club. In fall of eighth grade, I was on the cross-country team at school. Practice was truly hard, and I hated it. Yet later, it miraculously turned into heaven.

My seventh grade spring season I was on the tennis team. I had fine tennis skills, but I did not have enough endurance or physical strength, so I decided to join the cross-country team. Cross-country is basically a two-mile (3.2 km) running race. For the last two or three years our team had been last in the city competition. Our coaches were quite stressed out from our repeated losses. Because of that, practices were harder than they had ever been in previous years. That is what I found out after I joined.... In other words, I joined without knowing the full history of the club.

The practice started in late June. However, I went back to Japan, so I could not attend practice from the beginning. I only missed a week and a half, but that was huge for me. The first day, I could not even keep up with the other runners. Everyone had speed and strength; I felt like death. After practice I had tremendous muscle pain and exhaustion. What can you say of that other than it was hell? However, I did not want to give up; I hate giving up. So, I kept hanging on, and hung onto whatever I could.

The truth is, I do not remember the middle of that season of cross-country. What I do remember is a track meet called the Great Miami Conference, or GMC. That was a regional competition and another meet we had lost in the past. Unfortunately, I could not compete as part of the varsity team. I was only junior varsity. It was truly a great competition. Individually, I took second place, and the top place was only one second before me. What a close meet! In addition, I lost both shoes during the race, so the story became a legend. Our varsity team also had great performance that day, and got first place as a team. I still remember how excited everyone was and how we shared our happiness at that achievement.

After GMC, no one could stop our sprinting. At the city meet we got first place, and finally our school's varsity team was able to go to the state meet. I wanted to go to the state meet, but I gave up the dream because only the varsity team could go. One day we were grouped for practice as usual and suddenly the coach told me, "Congrats', you are one of the varsity runners from today." I was completely surprised and filled with happiness. The state meet result was... we got first place again!

This story sounds like a fictional story but it is absolutely a true story. First I was in the lowest level, but because I did not give up I could go up to become the eighth highest runner. Obviously, I learned the importance of hard work, but I also learned the importance of team work. In the future there will be many more "hells" to overcome, but just like this story, I want to turn them all to Heaven.

Child Research Net would like to thank the Doshisha International Junior/Senior High School and Masayuki Okamoto, student and author, for permitting reproduction of this article on the CRN web site.

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