REFLECTIVE ESSAY #2

Alisha Warren

March 18th, 2010

WRD 103

Reflective Essay

When Plattner revealed to us that we would be reading a gospel as part of formal three, I was pretty overwhelmed. For a kid who has never touched a bible, I had no idea how I was going to get through this one. Although I am a proud Catholic, I haven’t been to mass since the tender age of 7. My memory of mass is vague; I do remember that it was rather boring to me because I didn’t have a clue as to what the priest was saying. However, I was very surprised at how much I enjoyed discussing the gospel of Matthew in class. Inspired by all of the wisdom that each passage offered, I felt that for the first time in my life, I had gotten to know God. After a while, I started to critique myself through the eyes of god. It was almost as if I wanted to become a better person. A verse that I found to be most significant was “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matthew 5:44) Just like most human beings, I have had a few enemies in my life. However, I don’t think I have ever handled my enemies in the manner that Jesus would have suggested. Little did I know, applying this piece of wisdom to my life would help me make peace with my most recent enemy and put the ones in my past to rest.

On every sports team that I have ever been a part of, I have encountered the same kind of teammate. This teammate resembles a person who is constantly thirsty for attention and will do anything to get it, even if it means lying and betraying. For some reason, I have often times been the victim of this teammate. My first experience with an enemy came when I was in 8th grade. She was the coach’s daughter; how was I going to win this battle? This individual was jealous of the fact that my best friend and I were inseparable. To get revenge, she started nasty rumors about me that I had experimented with marijuana and that my best friend shouldn’t hang out with me. This rumor made its way around to the parents, including mine. At that age, I was a 4.0 student who did community service at my uncles fire-station over the weekends. I had no idea how anyone could try to portray me as a “stoner.” Thankfully, my parents along with several others knew me better than that. In the end, she had to apologize; nevertheless, I made it a point to make her more and more jealous by the day. Our problems were never put to rest. Sure, I had plenty of reason to dislike this teammate who tried to ruin my reputation. However, it didn’t necessarily justify how I responded to the situation. I should have confronted her and made an attempt to set our problems aside. Ultimately, our team was affected by the whole situation and our hostility towards one another carried over to the playing field. It was plain to see that we wished ill on the other one’s performance; we never exchanged a high five or praised one another’s name after we drove in a run. In the end, I made the decision to switch teams. I walked away from my enemy and we never spoke again.

My next encounter with an enemy would come during  my junior year in high school. She was new to our school and was planning on trying out for the softball team. As team captain, it was my duty to make her feel welcome and befriend her. Immediately I knew she was going to be someone to watch out for. Her first day at school, she had made negative pre-conceived notions about every girl on the softball team purely based on their looks. Although I didn’t agree with anything she ever said, I kept my lips sealed and did my best to make her feel accepted. However, I was the victim of her harsh comments once my senior year had rolled around. This individual wouldn’t stand for the fact that someone got more attention than she did. Little did she know, people gave her negative attention for being a whore. The attention that I got was for my accomplishments in both school and in sports. Regardless, she suffers from a severe condition called jealousy. A week before my senior season was about to begin, I was called to meet with our athletic director. Thinking I was being interviewed for the yearly softball preview in the paper, I walked into his office with a smile on my face and shared a couple of jokes with him. However, when he shut his door and looked me in the eyes, I knew it was something much more serious. He handed me an envelope. I opened it to find a picture of myself with two of my friends. This picture had alcohol in the background. At University High School, we signed a contract at the beginning of every year stating that we would not drink or be seen at a party for the entire year. This picture was taken during the summertime, 10 months prior to the day I was turned in. Had my coaches not had any respect for me, I would have been ineligible from playing for my entire senior season. However, my coaches knew my family and I on a personal level and trusted that I was the furthest thing from a party animal. I knew that I did wrong by violating the contract. I was not upset that I was caught. I was upset that the person who turned me in committed the highest level of hypocrisy. This individual partied every weekend and smoked marijuana several times a week. She would even brag about her experiences in front of me because she knew that I had no pictures or proof that she was participating in those acts. I found this to be incredibly difficult to handle. Why would someone want to do this to me? What have I ever done to her? I then came to the realization that she knew how hard I worked and it was her ultimate goal to try and destroy me. In the end I had a very prosperous season, however, I came close to having physical altercations with this person on a few occasions. I am also willing to admit that I talked very negatively about her to everyone at my school. Looking back on it, I should have remembered what my coaches told me, “What goes around comes around.” That statement held true. Karma hit this girl like a semi-truck. Not only did she lose her starting position to a freshman, but she also suffered in school and faced trouble with the law for possession of marijuana. I realized that I really should’ve prayed for her. When someone tries to tear people down the way she did to me, it is only because they are consumed by their insecurities; bringing people down is their only elixir. After this experience, I felt that I would be well prepared had anything like this come my way in college sports.

I recall the day before I left for college and my coach told me “if you think a teammate in high school softball is bad, just wait until you get to college. The competition could bring out the worst in people.” I am lucky enough to be a part of a great collegiate softball team; nevertheless, coach Schuh was right when he told me that “you will always have people trying to test your limits.” One particular individual and I had a rather cold relationship. I assumed that because I was equal to her in size and strength that she saw me as a threat. Despite the fact that I have been nothing but nice to this person, she was constantly making mean and sometimes untruthful comments to my face. She has something that my other enemies didn’t have–sarcasm. However, the sarcasm she uses is more insulting than anything. Not only has she harassed me for the way I look, but also called me stupid on several occasions. She is always rolling her eyes at me and criticizing everything I say. It’s almost as if she gets satisfaction from putting me down. In other instances she would instill fear and paranoid in my mind by telling me that coaches or teammates didn’t like how I did things. But I approached this enemy differently than any other. If I “kill her with kindness” what excuse does she have to be rude to me? Not one. During a trip for softball I was assigned to be her roommate. Instead of dreading the situation, I embraced it and saw it as a way of allowing her to get to know me as well as an opportunity for me to get to know her. We conversed about where we grew up and what our families were like. We were even able to vent frustrations to one another after a bad game. It was crazy how we were actually agreeing on things and having a civil conversation. She still has her moments, but I don’t react to her sarcasm and comments the way I used to. Now, I simply laugh because by doing that I am not only making light of the situation but I am not giving her the negative reaction that she wants out of me. I can’t say that I would have reacted this way had I not read the gospel. There were several verses that have had an influence on how I approach things, but “love your enemies” was a very powerful to me because I have had a lot of experiences with those types of people.

In the end, I have learned a very valuable lesson- look at your enemies as people who need help, and pray that they find their way in life so that they don’t have to throw others under the bus to gain confidence. These people were put in my life to teach me how to deal with conflict. I now know that others will respect me more if I handle conflict in a mature manner. Furthermore, if I “kill them with kindness,” my enemies will have no reason to dislike me at all.

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