Failure: The Key to Success— Mr. Jones

Mr. Jones, a PE teacher at Irvington, talks about a time where he overcame failure to succeed.

Andrew Fu

Mr. Jones, a PE teacher at Irvington, talks about a time where he overcame failure to succeed.

Andrew Fu, Staff Writer

In highschool, I was a track and field athlete and made it into the California State High School Track and Field Meet. I wanted to place in the top six to make it into the finals round. While I was ranked in the top six, I did not qualify since I did not make a bar in the pole vault meet. I was pretty devastated because I put a lot of hard work into the season and skipped out a lot of school events to maintain a strict sleep schedule to prepare for this event. I really felt I was capable of getting into the finals round, but things just didn’t work out.

It’s just one of those times where the situation is out of your control, and that was definitely a factor with pole vaults. Anything could have happened on any given day and a minor shifts in the positioning of the body could lead to drastic changes in performance. Even looking back now, I’m not really sure if there was anything I could’ve changed that would have significantly improved the outcome. Pole vaulting involves many components includes hand positions and the choice of pole.

The most important thing was that I didn’t allow this failure to define who I was. Not making it into finals heavily motivated me to go up to Oregon, where I trained with pole vault coach Rick Baggett, a man who would change my life. Moving from California to Oregon was a really big decision, and I wasn’t really sure if I wanted to do it. I just went with it, and I’m glad that I did. I don’t necessarily think it was about winning competitions with this coach. He helped me learn that there was a process to things. He helped me become more open-minded and to improve as an athlete and as a person. If I hadn’t gone to see him, I wasn’t sure if I would’ve grown as much as I did through those first couple years of college. I ended up being able to go to a compete at college level track and field and stand up to my failure.

Overall, at the time, when I failed, I was devastated, but I’m looking back at that experience, it was left a huge positive impact in my life because it guided me towards making that decision to go up to Oregon and meeting that coach and learning new things. There are always things that are going to happen out of your control, things that happen inevitably. The important thing is that you must never let that define who you are. Even though failing track seemed like a negative, it ultimately became a positive. Even though I didn’t ultimately achieve my goal, I was so much better for the months of work that I put in with Coach Baggett and the months of work that changed my life for the better.