One Inch to the Right

Personal Credo


Naomi Spencer, Grade 11, Ms. Solomon ELA

Have you ever heard of the butterfly effect? It’s a theory that the smallest events can have the biggest impacts, such as a butterfly flapping its wings and causing a typhoon. I have experienced this before in my life. A slower pitch, a different angle of the bat, a ball an inch to the right; all of these seemingly insignificant details could have changed my life.

It was my freshman year of high school and I had been imagining myself playing high school softball since I was eight years old. I had anticipated this moment for years, practicing and improving so I wouldn’t just be good, I’d be great by the time I reached high school. I had big plans. I imagined colleges fighting over me, seeing my face in the newspaper, and being known as an amazing athlete. However, once the moment had arrived, I made poor decisions and was barely eligible to play. 

I had sat on the bench for most of the season, not because I wasn’t good enough to be on the field, but because I wasn’t giving enough effort. I knew that I deserved to be on that field, so I tried my best to raise my grades and show my commitment to the team in an attempt to play in the state tournament. That was my goal and I showed my coaches how bad I wanted it. I was overjoyed when we made it to the state tournament. 

It was our first game of the tournament and I wanted to be on the field.  I did my best during warm-ups, until I had an accident – the wrong angle of the bat, a pitch coming too fast – the softball ricocheted off of my bat and hit me square in the face. 

 I sat on the bench for the rest of the tournament with a black eye and a raging headache. The crowd was cheering, the sun went down, and the lights turned on. I couldn’t process the situation around me. It was as if all of my senses were heightened.  The talking sounded like people screaming into my ear with a megaphone and the lights on the field felt as if I was staring directly into the sun. It was all too much and I sat in the corner of the dugout for the rest of the game with an ice pack on my eye, sobbing. 

Once I had returned home, I wasn’t feeling any better. My mom took me to the doctors a few days later and I was diagnosed with a “severe concussion.” I had lost all sense of balance, I couldn’t remember anything from the past three years, and I couldn’t focus on the words that were being said.  I never felt so dumb and useless in my entire life. 

I was unable to finish my school year, as I could barely comprehend what was happening around me. It was as if everyone was speaking a different language and everything familiar was moved a foot to the right.  Everything felt out of place. My doctor explained that there is no medication or cure for a concussion, just time. 

It has been two years since this happened and I still feel some of the side effects to this day. I have experienced chronic headaches, fainting spells, and loss of memory. Without a positive mindset and the willingness to grow I would not be where I am today. I have grown physically, mentally, and emotionally from my past trauma by attempting to live by these statements:

Every moment is precious.

In order to find success in life, you must always persevere.

Your mindset is your strongest weapon. 

Achievements take hard work and time. 

Commit to progress.

You are in charge of the outcome of your life. 

Perspective can change the way you choose to see the situation. 

Accept what you can’t change. 

You are not defined by your achievements but the journey it took to get there. 

Think before you act. 

Only you know what is truly happening in your life–do not take the criticism from others to heart.

Personal development takes time but is necessary–growth comes from self evaluation.

Make the best out of every situation–you do not want to look back and have regrets because of a bad mood.

Every second of every day is precious–I lost years of memories at one point in my life and now I am so grateful for every moment because I don’t know if I’ll remember it tomorrow. 

Treasure moments and memories, as if they are gold–people and memories are temporary, but the world we live in will be around much longer. 

Have a positive mindset everyday–I had my ability to control my mind and emotions taken away from me, do not take this for granted.

Imagine a world where people idolized personal growth and relationships. People would care about how their actions have affected people and work towards being a better person. Being able to humble yourself and self analyze faults is the first step in growing. Anything can happen at any moment which would change your life forever, so learn to live without regret. Who knows, the angle of my bat, the stance that I had, the speed of the pitch, the distance the ball was being thrown from; I am grateful for this experience and opportunity to grow, what if the ball had hit me an inch to the right and I ended up in a coma? Treat every moment like it is your last.