Dear Mr. Tim Howard,

I normally read books just for enjoyment, but The Keeper was different. I connected to your autobiography, The Keeper, like a paper clip drawn to a magnet. The book has changed my attitude towards everything in your life because it showed me that if I want something, I need to work for it. Your book describes you not being able to sit through school because of your condition Tourette’s Syndrome. This disease kept you from focusing in class and paying attention.  For me, it is hard to sit through school because I have ADHD, and it makes it challenging to pay attention.

When your doctor told you that the flip side of your disease is that you could hyper-focus on one thing, I really connected to your story. After reading this, I thought that there might be a flip side to my disease.  So, I tried to discover what it might be.  It turned out that my flip side was soccer, just like yours.  You were always the one who stayed late after practice and worked the hardest because you wanted to be the best. Your work ethic demonstrated that just showing up does not mean that I will get better. So instead of goofing off, I strived to train as hard as I could. 

When you went to Manchester United and discovered that their best player, Cristiano Ronaldo, trained harder than you, it hit me like a flying frisbee. Training is what makes a player. Ronaldo trained the hardest every day and became one of the best. You showed me that once you put the effort in, it will reward you. For example, when you were a kid you never backed down, and you worked towards being better than the kids who were more skillful than you.

Another thing that really connected me to the book is that you continued to play after being chastised and yelled at by many coaches for being the first American to play for Manchester United because the world associated America with being terrible at soccer. In the past, my coaches have yelled at me, but I ignored them. Now I listen to their feedback because you took it so seriously. I started out as one of the worst kids on my team because everybody worked harder than me. Every time that someone is slightly ahead of me while we are running laps, I now try my very hardest to pass them. Now I am one of the best on the team.

After reading The Keeper, it makes me feel like I can be anything if I am willing to work for it. You have shown me that everything good in life must be worked for. In school, if you want good grades, you must study and do all your homework. Soccer works the same, but training is the homework and victories are the good grades. Someone who is terrible can become amazing if they really work for it.

 I think that your story has changed me from being a lazy person to someone who understands how much you need to work for everything. My parents often say hard work pays off, and your book helped me understand that saying because your hard work embodies that saying.

So now in the future, I will try to work my hardest in every situation not just in soccer. I understand that when you work hard you will get the best result that you can. I was affected by the fact you had to be responsible for your entire team being on time and performing well. This made me feel like you had it even harder, but then I realized that it helped shape you into what you have become today. Your book was a super powerful statement that changed me into a better person.

I want to say thank you for helping me realize the value of hard work. I hope that I will be able to work hard enough to sustain a family when I am an adult. But I know that The Keeper will always stay with me throughout my entire life.


Adam Kesselman

Letters About Literature Texas 2018 Winners page

Page last modified: March 22, 2018