Sailor Miao

See below for a link to Sailor’s audio file.


Is It Real?

“Guys, write down a few words on the brag sheet to describe yourself.”

Um, I may not know what words can be used to describe myself, but I do know what I am not capable of doing well: Sports were my inherent enemy. Yep, athletics was never my cup of tea. 

As a little kid, I was chubby and nerdy. On the soccer field of our elementary school, I was always that kid at the tail of the running crew. Eventually, I decided to bring about a change: join the soccer team. Upon knowing I played soccer instead of basketball, everyone was confused and told me that I wasted my perfect six-feet height. Although at first I was a little timid, I began loving our team soon after because of the meaningful and unforgettable experience soccer brought to me.

Indeed, I was exactly the opposite of the word coordination at first. I could neither run fast enough to keep up with the rest of the team nor control the ball well. However, as I practiced with the best team and the goofiest (arguably the coolest) coach, my legs had more power, and the soccer balls became my good pals. Every day during practice, our teammates joked and took care of me. I will never forget our daily gather-ups and encouraging words we shared. “One, two, three, falcons!” echoes in my head every single day. 

From the very beginning, our team appreciated my efforts for warming up the benches. At first, I didn’t understand what soccer IQ was—-I thought good players were just born to be great. Naturally, I was disappointed in myself because I did not possess the same capability to control the ball. However, as the then-senior players and coach Matthew taught me how to look for the soccer balls and walked me through the complicated drills, I began to understand how to manipulate my feet so that the ball would stay near me constantly. Eventually, my team entrusted me with the ball even though I would still sometimes pass it right to our opponents. I loved to play defense because my height would scare off a lot of people, and I could be sluggish at the very back of the field. As I was playing, I realized how united our team truly was. When we beat Oxford, pure happiness poured out of my heart—-I was very proud of my team.

The pinnacle of my soccer career was when I scored the astonishing goal in my junior year. At the end of the Glencoe game, I had cold feet because I was suddenly chosen to be the striker. My expectation for myself, however, was not to pass the ball to Glencoe’s players. As I ran across the mid-field, the half-circle and passed several of their players, I seemed to become the flash! Running fast, the magic ball seemed to come out of thin air. I gave the subconscious kick. At that moment, time froze and became no longer relevant to me. I lost my sense of direction. Suddenly, our crowd roared in excitement, and I was embraced by my teammates. Finally, the scoreboard became a harbinger of my successful kick. 

Later, I learned that Nic passed me the ball at the right place and the right time. Not until that moment did I understand what teamwork meant. Collaborating with others makes me a stronger athlete and a better person. Also, my soccer experience shows my hard work pays off in the long run. 

As my senior year is about to end, and our soccer year was cut short due to the pandemic, I cherish my soccer experience with my team even more. My tenure in the team has helped me grow. When I get mentally exhausted from an overwhelming amount of homework, I think of my soccer experience. It encourages me to step up and bear more responsibilities as I begin my new journey in college. 

Please click on the arrow below to hear Sailor’s Senior Reading.