Ethan Zappin - Grade 8, Hadley E. Watts Middle School
My Favorite Word Is Determination!
Determination is defined by Merriam Webster's as "firm or fixed intention to achieve a desired end." Many people throughout my life have told me that they admire my determination. I didn't understand what a compliment that was until I discovered what it meant to be truly determined.
My first day of rowing was not what I expected. When I arrived I noticed that all the kids were much bigger than me. I felt nervous; I didn't want to ask the wrong questions, I wondered if any of these kids would want to be my friends. All my nerves vanished when I took my first stroke, I knew at that moment this was my sport and this would be my legacy.
One of the reasons that I knew I was determined to do great things is this sport was, for two years I came in last in almost every race, but I never gave up. I cut lawns to buy a weight set and researched how to build muscle. I asked questions and carried oars for my teammates at regattas. I was the first rower there and the last to leave at regattas. I fully invested myself in rowing.
Suddenly, I wasn't loosing races anymore and my coach began putting me in better boats. The guys started talking with me and asking me to hang with them. I felt for the first time in my life that I was part of a team. This motivated me to work even harder. I began training six days a week, twice a day. I read technical manuals, and stayed after practice to learn anything I could about the boats. I was even asked to be the assistant coach at the learn to rows.
This summer I raced in a single for the first time at US Rowing Club Nationals. I was the youngest competitor in the Youth Boys Under 17 category and was ranked 41st in the Nation. My coach and teammates were so proud. But most importantly I was proud of myself and the determination that inspired me to cross that finish line. I know this is only the beginning of my rowing career, but I also know that without determination I wouldn't be here and it feels amazing.