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Life lessons can sometimes be learned in the strangest of places…even at a soccer match. Going to watch my father play soccer every week was a large part of my childhood. The league he played in was far from high-profile, but there was something special about watching 30- to 40-year-old men of all different nationalities playing soccer just for love of the sport. This particular night, my father’s team’s opposition was comprised mainly of Bosnian players. There was only one set of bleachers for the spectators, so I sat among the families of my father’s team as well as the supporters for the opposing team. Not long after I took my seat, I turned around and saw a Bosnian child glaring at me from a few rows away. He looked about the same age as me: twelve years old. His angry stares soon turned to taunts; he gave me the middle finger numerous times and threatened to beat me up. I was a little scared by the threats because I didn’t understand what I had done to provoke his wrath, but I decided to do my best to ignore the truculent boy and the abuse soon abated. A few minutes later, much to my amazement, the boy approached me with a soccer ball and asked if I wanted to go play in the open field next to us. Happy to be on amiable terms, I agreed, and we were soon joined by two other Bosnian kids.
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After playing for about thirty minutes, I decided it was time to take a break. My new friends agreed, and we headed back to the bleachers. I had brought my CD player along, and as soon as we sat down, I took it out to listen to Green Day. The three kids looked at the object with expressions of fascination and confusion. “What is that thing?” one of the kids asked. “A CD player,” I replied, shocked that anyone on the planet would be unfamiliar with the device. I showed them the CD inside, and let them listen to the music for a little while. They were visibly excited by this new experience, and I was glad that I could provide them this happiness.
Remembering the Bosnian children’s reactions to the sight of a CD player truly makes me realize how privileged I am to live in America. Everyday items that I don’t think twice about possessing are not available in the majority of the world. Going to my father’s soccer games as a child provided me with the opportunity to gain awareness of different cultures. After the day of the game against the Bosnians, I began making a concerted effort to be grateful for the opportunities presented to me in the great country that I live in.
I believe a diverse student body is important, which is why I feel that I would fit in at the University of Vermont. My life experiences have taught me to accept everyone for who they are, regardless of their nationality. I believe this to be a valuable quality, which feel that I would contribute significantly to the student body at the University of Vermont.
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