My brother taught me the value of winning. From a very early age, I remember that more than anything, my brother hated to lose. I remember long, silent car rides home from baseball tournaments where his team finished second (which didn’t happen often). I remember his disappointment when he wasn’t able to get the winning hit when his team needed him. My brother showed me that it was okay to be upset when you didn’t accomplish your goal. But more importantly he showed me just how hard you have to work to not experience that disappointment again. He showed me that the only way to deal with the gut wrenching feeling of losing, was to put in more time and make sure that same mistake didn’t prevent his team from winning next time.
My brother taught me that kindness has its place, but it is NOT on the field. As an extremely competitive person, my brother had his game face on from the time he got to the field until the time the final out was recorded. He didn’t speak to his friends on opposing teams, or those who had come to watch him play. He didn’t speak to his family either, but we knew better than to try. My brother showed me what it looks like to be uniquely dedicated to the thing you love, and that kindness has its place, but it is not when the winning run is on second base with 2 outs in the 9th inning.
My brother taught me how to go after my dreams. He showed me how to relentlessly pursuit my goals, no matter how ludicrous they seemed to others. He taught me to keep my head down (on the ball and in class) and putting the work in was the only way to succeed. He taught me to never change my dream because someone says it is unrealistic or because it falls through the first time. He made me understand that when you want someone bad enough, no barrier is too great to overcome.
My brother taught me how to drown out the critics who say I cant (because he says otherwise, and he’s always right). There were many times when I came home doubting my ability, my intelligence, and my very existence. But he reminded me that I was given an opportunity to prove to myself that I was better than the hurtful words. It was a chance to prove that I am stronger than my doubts. It was a shot to be great.
My brother taught me about friendship and respect. He taught me that kindness is the best way to gain friends, and that when you struggle and fail, you find out who are real friends to you. He taught me that a true friend will apologize when he or she wrongs you; and that it is okay to forgive him or her. But never more than once. He showed me that respect is something that everyone deserves, until they prove otherwise. He taught me that once a person shows his or her true colors, I should be wary to let that person fool me again. He taught me to trust me instincts.
My brother made sure I knew that it is okay to laugh at myself (because he was often the first one laughing at me). He reminded me that taking things too seriously doesn’t ever help. He taught me that the ones who love you will always laugh at you, but only after they realize you’re okay (no matter how funny the fall was). And he made sure I knew that he would always be there to pick me up when he was finished laughing at me.
My brother taught me that heartbreak, no matter how severe, is temporary. He taught me that nothing is too horrible that we couldn’t fix with pazooki (cookie and ice cream dessert) and a laugh. He taught me to always see the bright side of heartbreak, because there is always one (I just have to look hard enough).
Big brothers are the best teacher a girl could wish for. We learn from their missteps, their successes, their triumphs and their failures. We learn to be ourselves, and are not afraid to be unique, no matter how odd because he will always have my back. So thank you big bro, for making me laugh, showing me the way, and supporting me in everything I do.