Have you ever heard the saying "when one door closes, another door opens"? Most people have. This quote is actually a part of the full quote by Alexander Graham Bell. The full quote is: "When one door closes another door opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us."
This quote becomes more special to me as I grow older because I have begun to recognize the many doors that have closed, which eventually led to open ones. When I was growing up, I played many sports. I bounced around a lot because I enjoyed an active, busy lifestyle. By the time I got to the 6th grade though, the only sport that seemed to stick with me was basketball. I played basketball every day, and I seriously couldn't get enough of it. I played year round on rec teams, and club teams. I went to the best camps in Georgia to improve my skills. I felt like I was destined to be a basketball player.
The time came around for me to try out for the 8th grade team. I was so excited because I felt like this would be my chance for me to play for my school. Well, long story short, I didn't make it. This was not too much of a blow for me because I knew I wasn't impressive at tryouts. I devoted the rest of the year to improve every skill on the court so I could make the 9th grade team. I continued playing rec ball, AAU ball, and I want to a few camps over the summer. I remember tryouts for high school basketball like it was yesterday. I was so excited and nervous at the same time. However, I noticed a new confidence in me. I knew some of the older guys on the team, and the coaches seemed to recognize my potential. Tryouts lasted all week. They made two sets of cuts, both of which I survived, with the last cut being on the final day of tryouts. Most of the tryouts went well, but I was especially excited to scrimmage the JV squad. The coaches picked out a freshman squad, and when they said that I was starting, I figured I had already made the team. My confidence was at an all time high. I shined in that game. I made the most baskets against the JV team, and I had a few rebounds as well. I was so excited about how I played, and the other players seemed to notice how well I did, too. After the scrimmage, the coaches had us watch the varsity scrimmage so they could make their last minute decisions. After it was over, all the freshman went to the other gym where the posted the roster. To the shock of me and many of the players who did make it, my name was not on the list.
I was in shock. My attitude afterward was "You have got to be kidding me." I had never played better before that scrimmage, and they still cut me? I was so mad.... After I got over the cut, I decided I wanted to keep active, so I went to the first track practice. I had told my parents I wanted to try pole vaulting, and when the track coach asked who wanted to try it, I raised my hand. Little did I know, the next four years of my life would be defined by this raise of my hand.
I have never loved anything more than the sport of pole vaulting. I was a tall pretty fast kid, and I excelled. After I took home four medals at the freshman only meet, I knew that track was for me. I began to focus solely on vaulting where I was able to tie the freshman record, set the sophomore record, and tie the senior record. I won state my junior and senior year, and I signed a scholarship to Clemson University where I ended up placing at ACCs and qualifying for NCAAs.
Needless to say, I would not have accomplished all that I have in vaulting without being cut from the basketball team. As much as I loved basketball, and still love it to this day, I am so happy I had the opportunity to pole vault. This sport has changed my life, and it was all because one door closed, and another door opened. Whether you're a kid who just got cut from the team, a coach who just lost his job, a senior who did not get recruited by your favorite college or the parent of one of these situations, I encourage you to share my story. This story doesn't only apply to sports, it applies to any aspect of life. Think of life as a room with thousands of doors, some already open some that used to be opened and some that haven't been open yet. Take note of those doors that have closed. Don't ever forget that they were once open, and greatly affected your life. However, you must be careful to not remain in front of the closed doors because it prevents you from moving on to other doors. I encourage you to move on to the doors that have not been open yet. Because just one knock on a door you haven't opened yet, may change your life forever.
Written by: Michael Kopanski