School, practice, sleep, repeat

Tuesday, February 3, 2004

No pain, no gain. Never say die. Quitters never win and winners never quit.

These are all inspirational quotes used to motivate young people. Ever since I was little, I've had parents, teachers and coaches telling me that hard work is the key to success. And after 16 years of following their advice I am about ready to throw in the towel and make up my own "inspirational" quotes.

How about "stop when you're tired" or "if it's hard, then just don't do it"? This would make life much easier … or would it? As an athlete I live for winning. There is just something inside of me that won't let me lose.

Whether it be a basketball game, getting an A on an impossible chemistry test, seeing who can jump rope the longest in weight training or racing the sweet old man sitting at the stop light next to me on Mount Auburn Road, I MUST win! It's almost become a compulsive disorder with me. I feel I have to do better than everyone else. Now granted, most of the time I am not better, but boy, do I try. It's all that trying that's wearing me out. I have to get up in the morning and go to weight training, where I desperately try to get strong rotator cuff muscles and try to beat the school record for the dot drill (I am going to get it, mark my words!).

Then after that I must go to school. Notre Dame is a great place, but it sure does wear me out. Every teacher -- oblivious to the amount of homework I'd just been assigned in my previous class -- decides to pile on the homework.

Study for this and read for that, this will be due tomorrow, and know this for the test. I mean, is it too much to ask for a teacher to walk in and say "This is a no-homework class because I believe school should stay at school"? I know they would have my teacher-of-the-year vote! Come on, who's with me?

When the bell finally rings, signaling that eighth hour is over, my day can now slow down.


Now I have a two-hour practice to endure. I love sports and I love exercising, but your body just gets tired of practice every day.

But, nonetheless, after practice is over I finally get to go home ... to about three hours' worth of homework waiting for me. There is no worse feeling than that of driving home, exhausted, and suddenly realizing how much math homework you have to do.

But you gotta do what you gotta do, so suck it up and get' er done. By the time I complete all my homework, it's usually about 10 p.m. Now all I want to do is curl up, go to sleep and not wake up for about a week. But I still have about four phone calls to return since I put my phone on silent, or pushed ignore while attempting to find the empirical formula of NaCl. Finally about midnight, when I can't keep my eyes open any longer, I collapse into bed.

Then seven short hours later I am awakened by the alarm clock only to discover I must begin anew the wonderful cycle that has become my life.

But I'll just go by repeating something from a great little fish named Dory. She gave some excellent advice to her good friend who was feeling overwhelmed. She told him what he had to do when life got him down and I am sure it will work the same for me and you.

So if life has you down and you are feeling overwhelmed all you have to do is, "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming."

Amber Karnes is a student at Notre Dame Regional High School.

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