The writer is introspective about what they regard as a failure, in a thoughtful manner that might surprise a reader expecting a more arrogant voice. Every single one of the thousands of applications a college receives will highlight successes, awards, honors, and accomplishments. On a certain level, your essay isn't really about your failure. That said, there are some absolute caveats to the rule.
They're reading them one after the other, so it's vital to grab them from the beginning with a hook. I struggle to rise, but I do. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?
We were nothing more than a bump in the road for them. Put the reader in the picture in the first paragraph. Providing this information can often be just as valuable as explaining the details of the specific failure itself such as the quantitative facts related to the failure, for example, if you are a business applicant and have been asked to address a business failure, which in business is best done with numbers. Good writing is all about using concrete examples.
I didn't need a trophy or a Hollywood come-from-behind win to have fun playing baseball with my friends, but maybe I needed to strike out to remember that. It didn't make it easy. What happened? That could have been a failure. If you blame your failure on others, or if you seem to have learned nothing from your failure, the college may very well decide that you don't have a place in the campus community.
That's not me. Think about it for a second. In our ever-changing world, that means a lot. Her routine was always to fill up the tub, do exactly 10 minutes of assigned reading, and come back when it was just about full. What we sometimes forget is that talking about our failures can actually be a way to do this.