I step up to the starting line-palms sweating, heart racing. Three short blasts of a whistle followed by one long blast and the trembling commences. After three nerve-wracking seconds, the gun goes off.
I am perfectly content when I set foot on the track. The track is where I realized that my capabilities as a human being are boundless. Track, being an outdoor sport, forces me to endure a myriad of temperatures and conditions. Some days, the air is unbelievably hot and humid and surviving practice feels like an unattainable goal. Other days its coolness strips my esophagus raw. Some days, it downpours and the vicious winds push me out of my lane. Thanks to Ohio’s unpredictable temperament, rain, snow flurries, and heat waves can occur within one practice. If I learned anything from practicing under these unpleasant conditions, it is that no matter how gruesome the weather or how arduous the workout, these obstacles can be overcome. This newfangled knowledge that I can beat all this world has to throw at me engineered a mental toughness within me and ignited a burning ambition for fearlessly tackling hardships encountered on a daily basis.
The laps that I run around the track are not just a form of aerobic exercise; they are my therapy. With each stride the world around me vanishes; the one hundred point test tomorrow does not exist, the eight hour shift that I have to work this weekend is not real, and for once I do not have a list of errands to complete. The cool, spring air is intensified by a layer of sweat that covers my body, and heavy panting and the rhythmic thud of my footsteps drown out the nearby traffic. My first encounter with the track occurred at the age of fourteen. Insecure and shy, I said very little to the other girls, but luckily my talent spoke for me. As the competition season progressed, I became more aware and proud of what my body was capable of accomplishing. This realization was accompanied by a budding confidence, and for the first time in my adolescent life I felt significant.
The four years that I spent on the track were pivotal in the creation of the person that I wanted to be and have become. My ability to persevere through tough workouts revealed a strength that I was unaware I possessed: determination. The confidence I gained from improving my times aided in the creation of friendships, but most importantly, I discovered a technique for assuaging life’s woeful moments. The track is not just a four hundred meter circle to me; it is the place that prompted my transition from an insecure fourteen year old girl to a strong, ambitious, and confident young woman.
Smith, Kyonne. "It's Not Just A Sport" StudyNotes.org. Study Notes, LLC., 12 Dec. 2014. Web. 13 Mar. 2018. <https://www.apstudynotes.org/common-app/its-not-just-a-sport/>.
Where do you even start when you’re brainstorming possible essay topics for your college application essays? Some go for a walk to get inspired, and others look back on their own experiences. Here are 5 college students who decided to talk about their athletic achievements, or used sports as a metaphor:
Amherst College ‘20
The lessons I have learned in tennis can apply to everybody’s life. When someone begins learning tennis, the main focus is to keep the ball in play. Keep the ball going back and forth until you win the point. I honestly struggled keeping up my motivation in high school. However once I finally found a very steady source, it made life much easier and it kept me going much longer. Keep reading.
University of Pennsylvania ‘18
Numerous times I felt like giving up on my basketball dreams yet I didn’t want to be labeled a quitter. Instead, I wanted to one day tell a story just like Michael Jordan’s and how he was initially cut from the varsity team only to end up becoming the best player in the world; this became the driving force of my basketball obsession after I didn’t make the varsity team during my freshman year. View full profile.
Dartmouth College ‘18
Gliding above the liquid glass, I take deep breathes, setting a rhythm for my crew to act together with one mind. Putrid green bubbles can be seen, rising to the water’s surface to gently greet the most crimson-colored sunset found in the Sacramento Valley, only to be crushed by the blade found at the end of my Yao Ming-sized sweeping oar. Each stroke, I pull harder than I did on the one that came before it; each stroke I tear skin from the blisters found on the joints of my fingers that grasp my oar; each stroke I carry my weapon of bubble destruction with more and more confidence. In the long haul of a two-thousand meter race I remember that the pain I feel is temporary and that I am fully capable of pulling my way past the finish line. Read more.
Harvard University ‘17
It all happened within a split second. I held the orange leather ball firmly between my hands as steaming droplets of sweat ran from my forehead to the tips of my fingers. My lungs desperately begged for oxygen as I stood right before the maroon line fifteen feet away from the basket, crouched into my shooting stance that had been perfected through the hours of repetition spent on this very spot. Despite the meticulous preparation, my knees trembled out of fear and anxiety. All eyes within the gymnasium were placed on me—the shortest of the ten in uniform on the hardwood floor. Tightly shutting my eyes and stiffening my lips, I deeply meditated on the foul shot that was about to be taken. As the cheers filled my ears, I recalled the days in the past when all of this was a brand new experience; slowly, the roar of the crowd faded to a low murmur then to an utter silence. Continue reading.
University of Pennsylvania ‘19
“The 50m freestyle is next. Swimmers, take your positions.” I stepped onto the diving platform as the announcer’s voice echoed through the natatorium and tightened my goggles, not too tight, but just right, like Goldilocks’ porridge. This was my debut since my hiatus from the U10 YMCA Sharks. Standing on the diving board, I could feel the power of the room engulf my being; energy filled my body while my fingers began to tingle. “Chariots of Fire” by Vangelis began to play in my ears. View full profile.
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Frances was born in Hong Kong and received her bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University. She loves super sad drama television, cooking, and reading. Her favorite person on Earth isn’t actually a member of the AdmitSee team - it’s her dog Cooper.