Olympic day. I was running as fast as I could and flew over a hurdle. Then I fell on my shoulder and felt a sharp pain. The pain got worse and worse. I went to the hospital and saw an x ray of my shoulder. It was broken in two. Then I heard these awful words from the doctor: no sports for around 3-6 weeks. I was devastated. I was in pain. It was one of the worst days of my life.
From my injury, I have learned something very important that I want to share with you: never give up. Don’t lose heart. Don’t let your disappointment get you down. Don’t let your hardship stop you from being all you can be.
All of us will experience great disappointment and failure. You will experience disappointment at school. You will experience disappointment with pursuing your goals and dreams, with playing sports. You will have disappointment over friends and parents letting you down. How you respond to it can make you rise above the rest. It can make you stronger and more determined.
I am learning this right now with a disappointment over my injury. Many of you know how much I love soccer. This is a time that I cannot play because of a broken collarbone. It is really rough at times. I can’t play with my friends at school. I can’t go to practice and play with my team. But I am learning to wait and be patient. I am learning to not lose heart, to not give up. I am determined to come back stronger than before.
Mia Hamm, a famous soccer player said this:
Failure happens all the time. It happens everyday in practice. What makes you better is how you react to it.
That quote is really challenging and inspires me a lot.
My second example of not giving up: I have Tourette Syndrome. Sometimes my body does things I don’t want it to do. Sometimes I say things I don’t want to say. Sometimes I am so frustrated because I can’t control these things. It is challenging to focus at times. But because of this I am learning to not give up. I am learning to fight harder. I am not going to let it define who I am. And I hope that my story will inspire and give courage to those who feel like giving up.
My mom told me a story that I want to share with you. A boy discovered the cocoon of a Monarch Butterfly and brought it home with him. After a few days, he watched as the butterfly began to push and struggle to free itself from the cocoon. Out of a desire to rescue the caterpillar from its struggle, the boy took a pair of scissors and carefully cut the cocoon in order to free the butterfly. What he discovered, to his horror, was that the butterfly came out unhealthy with short wings, unable to fly.
You see, the struggle of coming out of the cocoon is part of the process in becoming a butterfly. The energy put into breaking free forces the fluid into the wings, stretching them to their full size. By taking that away from the butterfly, the boy doomed the butterfly to a life with stunted wings, never to fly.
What does this story teach us? Through the struggle and difficult parts of life, we learn to grow and gain the strength needed to fly.
So the next time you experience disappointment, how will you respond? The next time you want to feel sorry for yourself, what will you do? I hope you will not give up and lose heart. Instead, may those disappointments push you to become more determined and stronger. May those disappointments also humble you to become a better person. I think that’s what it means to be Tomorrow’s Champions. Thank you for listening.