This We Believe

Separated by Differences, United by Beliefs

Listen Up

I took a seat on the Coach bus and became aware of all the chatter going on around me. My junior classmates were so excited for this trip to look around Chicago, go to Second City, eat dinner and play games at the ESPN Zone, not to mention end the night with a Blue Man Group concert.  My friend seemed the most excited as she took a seat next to me on the bus and wouldn’t stop talking. That is, she wouldn’t stop talking until she got a text message. I started to say something to her, when her phone buzzed. She half-listened to me as she started to text the person back.  Fine, if she won’t listen to me, I just won’t say anything.

For a while, there was an awkward silence as we didn’t talk to each other. I think she knew I was annoyed. After a couple minutes, I tried to move past it; after all, it didn’t seem like she meant to hurt me. However, the situation made me realize the importance of listening to others. In my own case, I try to be careful not to text when I’m with people. If I do need to text, I tell them who I’m texting and why I’m texting the person. This is only one way in which people can listen to others better. Even in this fast-paced society, where everybody is busy doing their own thing, the day presents many circumstances where we can listen to what people want to say.

Essentially, people need to listen to others and pay full attention to what other people have to say. People deserve to be listened to because each person has dignity and should be respected. Listening is a way of letting others know we respect them. When we do not listen to people the way we should, it hurts our relationships with them because we act as if we don’t care. Checking the phone every second seems far less important than maintaining strong friendships with those around us.

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Dangerous Delivery

A few years ago, while I was in the Navy, I was stationed in Norfolk, VA.  The area was not too bad, outside of the mostly military population.  There were beaches, malls, movie theaters, bowling alleys, the usual attractions of a beach community.  Unfortunately, the crime rates of robberies, assaults, and homicides were higher in some areas.

Being a so-called junior sailor, which basically meant E-3 or below, I did not make the best money.  As such, I mostly hung around people close to my rank due to having the same lifestyle of not spending money all the time.  A close friend of mine, Justin, decided to pick up an extra job delivering pizza on weekends to have some extra spending money when he drove home on leave.

Justin was your average guy.  He came from the suburbs near Buffalo, NY, and did not come from a lot of money.  He wanted the extra money so he could take his family to nice dinners and spend some on them while he was home.  He was also saving up so he could have his girlfriend come down for a weekend.

Now, the areas closest to bases are typically, so I was told, higher in the crimes than others.  Justin, who lived in the barracks on base with me, got his job at the pizza place close to the base.  Unfortunately for Justin, he was robbed, either at gunpoint or by a knife, three times within six months.  Two of the times he was robbed happened while he was delivering pizza and the other after he left a bar in the area.

If Justin had a concealed carry license, he potentially could have avoided these situations.  Since we lived on base, personal weapons were not allowed.  I believe that we have a right to defend ourselves, family, and property by whatever means necessary if danger is imposed on us.  I believe that we should not have to show cause for a reason to own a weapon.  The people carrying weapons legally are law abiding citizens and therefore should be allowed to carry one anywhere they go.  I believe we all have the right to feel safe.

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More Than a Game

I was in fifth grade playing on the St. Bernard’s boys basketball team. Already in fifth grade, people could tell that this group of boys were a really talented bunch, and would be something someday if they stuck together. They were just a group of boys who love to play the game of basketball.

It was half way through our fifth grade season when we had to play against the sixth grade boys’ team from St. Henry’s. Whenever anyone had to play against a sixth grade team when they were in fifth, they were always the underdog.  But we weren’t like most fifth grade teams, we wanted to win that game more than anything, and would do anything to get the win.

Throughout the whole game it was back forth but we were always trailing. Even though they were only one year older than us, they were bigger, stronger, and faster. That didn’t seem to bother any of us; we just kept fighting the whole game. Going into the fourth quarter we were down by six points, and we knew if we had any shot at winning this, we had to pick up the defense.

The fourth quarter was just like whole game before that, going back and forth, giving all we got to win the game. It came down to the final seconds of the game to decide the winner. Both teams playing their hearts out on the courts. We had the ball with three seconds left under their basket, down by one point. Our coach called a time out and designed a play for us to run. The play was for me to get the ball and take the game winning shot. I knew that I had all the confidence in my teammates to make the shot.  The ball was inbounded to me, I took the shot, and it went in. It was a feeling I would never forget. We played hard the whole game, and came out with the win.

Even as kids the feeling of success by working hard and never quitting is something that we took with us for the rest of our lives. Working as a team showed us that we can’t win games if we don’t work as a team. That nobody can play by themselves and expect to win.

I believe that kids should play sports to teach them what team work and working hard does, and how it feels when you accomplish something. I believe that as kids being taught how to work together only increases your chances of success, not just in sports, but in life. By having that feeling of success as a fifth grader, showed me how sports isn’t just about playing a game.

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