Let Yourself Miss a Couple in a Row

by Thomas Fenner

Throughout most of high school, I was terrified of failure. I spent far too much time in high school caring about how my peers viewed me. It took me finding the right group of friends, finding my place on the basketball team, and building relationships with coaches, teachers, and classmates to realize that the people who care and believe in me won’t harp on me for failure.

Something I struggled with was my desire for other people’s approval. I always felt the need to succeed and believed that any small missteps would be a disappointment to those that were important in my life. I think a perfect example of this is when it comes to basketball, the sport I’ve played and loved my entire life. My role on the team was to be a shooter, which led me put a lot of pressure on myself. Even when I missed only a shot or two, I was disappointing people who had put their trust in me. One thing that will always stick with me, however, was the constant reassurance from my coaches and teammates. “You can miss 100 in a row, and we still want you to shoot it,” my coaches would tell me.

Now as a graduating senior, I’ve taken that advice and tried to apply it to so many other things. Basketball may not be part of my future, but the lessons I’ve learned from it will most definitely stick with me. Whether it be failing a test, not getting the internship or job opportunity I was hoping for, or other setbacks in life, I know that I can and will fail. However, I have realized that I can overcome these obstacles and grow from them. I didn’t want to listen at the time, but I now recognize that it takes failure to see what you can truly accomplish. I believe that if it weren’t for me messing up (countless times), I wouldn’t be the person I am today.

The people in my life that I know will always be there for me are the same ones who have seen me fail and embarrass myself. Yet, they have stuck with me through it all. I still look back on the freshman and sophomore versions of myself, and how hesitant I was to take risks. Now, heading into the next part of my life, I am grateful for all the events that didn’t end in a positive outcome, because those moments shaped the senior I am now. Everyone needs to miss a couple in a row to see the next ones go in.