Who I Admire - and Why
by Giacoma V., Milford, CT "Gooooaaaaaal!" The crowd is on its feet and cheers echo through the air. All eyes are on the 6'1" forward being congratulated and embraced by fellow teammates. The whistle blows and the game is won, thanks to him. He stands tall and proud, knowing he possesses a skill well beyond his years.
On another field, at another time, the crowd is silent, all eyes on the goalkeeper. His team is up by one. The next goal could tie the game, and send this quarter-final match into overtime. The opposing team is anxious, ready to take the penalty kick; the keeper remains emotionless. The shot is fired, but his reactions are too quick and the keeper smothers the rocket shot. The game ends, and his team is on its way to the state semi-finals.
No, they are not superstars, but they're not regular players either. Both athletes are in a class by themselves because of their immense talent in the sport of soccer. They teach, amaze, inspire and excel. Together, they have filled me with the deepest admiration. They are Pierre and Jean-Nicole Venditti, my older brothers.
I wouldn't be able to pick one I admire more because both have taught me to put a hundred percent into everything I do. Everything they have learned through soccer - not just the drills, or the plays, but also the determination and the passion you need to perform well - has made me realize that whatever you do in life that is important, should be done with the same determination and passion.
Maybe it's the many trophies and awards they have won that I admire. Team MVP, All-City, All-State, All-Regional, All-American, Gatorade Soccer Player of the Year - these are titles familiar to my brothers. Front page of the sports section, captains of their team, first-place trophies and plaques, breaking school records - these are all things my brothers know best. But to be honest, the times they have inspired me the most are when their many awards and trophies were not in view.
The game is tied. The other team's defenders are guarding that 6'1" forward heavily. He manages to break free and score an unbelievable goal. However, the game is not over and he shows no signs of relaxing. Suddenly, a player is down in the box: "It's the boy who just scored the tie-breaking goal!" The crowd is silent; things don't look good. He has to be helped off the field, but before he goes, he shakes the hand of the opposing team player who went down with him. There is a standing ovation as he is led reluctantly to the bench.
On another field, at another time, a different game is half over. Both teams are pushing to score with no luck. At halftime, the coach pleads with his star goalkeeper to give up his position. "We don't have anyone in the front to score. The only reason the other team hasn't scored yet is because of you. Please switch to forward and see what you can do out there." The boy removes his lucky keeper jersey. On the field, he sticks out because of his unfamiliarity with the position. But the plan works. The keeper's skill carries with him and he scores a tremendous shot from far out.
When they are on the field, they carry themselves with an abundance of pride, strength, honor and confidence - that is what I see, admire and aspire to be.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.