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When You Fall, Look Around You

By Anderson Smyth-Trider, Grade 11
If you’ve grown up playing sports, you would have to be among the luckiest of individuals to not have experienced failure. I use the word “failure” only to describe experiences where you may not have reached your goal at that time. However, I do not believe it is failure, but I will come back to this.
I grew up playing all sports, but playing hockey was my passion. When I was 11 years old, I could finally try out to play competitive hockey. I ended up being cut from three separate tryouts, and instead played house league or recreational hockey. What I learned, though, would always remain with me. My linemate for the year had a learning disability and had never been on skates before, but he was the happiest and most encouraging teammate. I learned the value of treating everyone with respect and kindness, regardless of their ability.
The following year, I made the competitive team.
But history would repeat itself; at age 12 I was again cut from the top team but still played competitively on the tier 2 team. However, I ended up meeting one of my best friends on that team. I learned the value of embracing the experience that was in front of me. 
The following year, I made the competitive team.
At age 13, I was cut again from the top team, but the minor team I played for ended up being one of my favourite years of hockey. I had the most encouraging and positive coach, who I still remain in contact with today. I also met some of my best friends who I will share a bond with for a lifetime. That year, I learned to believe in myself and set many of my future goals. 
The following year, I arrived at Stanstead, excited for a new challenge and environment that would push me to be the best I can be. I began on the thirds team and moved up to play on the prep team for the following two years. Although, I would not be moving up to the varsity team, these years of hockey taught me many things with the most important lesson being to remain focused and committed to my goals.
To cycle back to the beginning, none of these experiences can be considered failures. They all taught me something. It does not matter how many times you fall down, there is always something to be learned and room to keep moving forward.
In the end it is you versus yourself; you have to be willing to accept the challenges and keep the determination to keep moving forward, to get what you want, and not lose to yourself.
My mother is a therapist and an athletics mental performance coach. When I was just 10 years old, she told me the story of the two wolves inside you. Here's the story:
 An old man is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.
“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” 
He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. 
The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”
The old man simply replied, “The one you feed.”
WHICH WOLF ARE YOU FEEDING?  We always have a choice.