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The proudest personal experience of my life was being elected captain of the Carlsbad cross country team. I learned to become a leader by example and to inspire my teammates so that we could achieve our personal and collective best.
It seems like only yesterday that I ran my first cross country race. I had thought that making the varsity team would prove easy. It was only after the varsity runners took off that reality hit me. As each Carlsbad runner passed me, pain and sweat on every face, I realized the hard work and the many trials each had endured. Three years later, the very varsity team I admired I now led. It was a new band of brothers. I felt pride, honor and confidence surging through my veins. Carrying the responsibility of leading my teammates, I now carried the torch that had been passed down by each captain to the next. This was my team to lead.
The Carlsbad High School’s cross country team has been recognized repeatedly for its exceptional ability to stand alone as accomplished scholar athletes. The duty of the team captain is to represent such uniqueness inside and outside the classroom. The captain must exceed all other teammate’s efforts to serve as the rightful leader. If that meant losing sleep to get an extra hour of studying done for a test or even volunteering to run an extra interval, it was my duty as captain to do so.
The title “captain” also came with difficulties. We had a new coach. And we had lost some of the best runners Carlsbad High School had seen in years. There was no easy path from which to choose. With the exception of newly appointed runners, the team paid considerably for this significant change. The cohesion and inspiration, on which the team ran, disappeared. There was a great need for someone to set an example. I gladly filled those shoes.
Through hard work and much effort, the team worked together to regain its old confidence which had led to its prior successes. By setting defined goals and benchmarks for achieving them, we gained back our dignity. By believing in myself and in the teaching of past captains, I set an example for the team to follow.
I am grateful for the life changing experience of being an elected leader faced with challenging and leading others to achieve greater heights than they imagined themselves capable. This experience has had a great impact upon me. My personal life, as well as my character, has improved greatly. Through this valuable experience, a clearer concept of my identity was revealed; and, the belief in my potential grew tremendously. Cross country has unearthed my competitive side and reinforced my dedication to always achieving my best. I have become a hard worker at heart. And now nothing can sway me from what my mind has set itself to accomplish. Armed with these important life-lessons, I feel confident that I am ready for the challenges ahead: college, my career, and becoming an inspirational leader in my community.
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