My name is Shawn Esmaili. I'm 17 years old and live in Cupertino, CA. I like to think of myself as a regular teenager who genuinely enjoys playing sports, spending time with friends, and going to school. And, as a competitive athlete (I'm a swimmer), I usually think of myself as a good team player. However, I want to examine what the words "team player" and "sportsmanship" mean.
About 5 years ago, I visited an overseas orphanage for the first time. Many of the kids I met didn't have basic necessities, such as shoes, medical care, and a comfortable place to call home. While I live in a safe, peaceful and well-off part of the United States, many, many young people - here and around the world - don't have a good pair of shoes to wear each day. Although I've long known this reality in my mind, I now know this reality in my heart.
So, back to being a "team player." Often, we think of our "team" as our parents, brothers and sisters, the people we hang out with, our video game partners, our bandmates, or literally the players on our sports team at school. For most of us, team starts and ends with people nearby who live similar lives to our own. But what does it really mean to be a team player?
To me and for Youth Against Poverty, being a team player and demonstrating sportsmanship means working together to achieve an end, whether it is winning a championship, promoting a cause, or alleviating poverty. Sportsmanship is how activists like Martin Luther King, Jr. rallied the Civil Rights Movement, how athletes like Michael Jordan led his team to the championship, and how philanthropists like Bono have organized charity concerts to prevent world hunger. However, none of these people could have achieved these feats without teamwork and without *as many people as possible* doing their part.
To alleviate poverty, we need to bring our separate ideas, personalities, and passions into one team - with players from California, from Haiti, from Africa, and beyond. Let's demonstrate great sportsmanship (which is just another word for friendship, comaraderie, support and commitment) and be championship winning team players by bringing hope and love to those who need it most. Youth Against Poverty is dedicated to providing goods, services, and funds to help the disadvantaged in both the United States and abroad.
I invite you to join the Youth Against Poverty team. Let's play the best game possible. Together, we can alleviate poverty and help all of us achieve our dreams.