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At the Turn of a Dime This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

By , San Anselmo, CA
The only thing I could think of as I stood at the end of the vault runway were my sweaty feet. As a nervous habit, I fidgeted, making it obvious that I felt a little uneasy. It seemed silly that I had trained so many demanding hours to perform this one vault skill, and that I was still anxious. Once I saluted the judge indicating I was ready, I thrust all negative thoughts to the back of my mind and launched into an aggressive sprint hurtling towards the vault. The next two seconds consisted of me holding my breath as I pushed off the vault table and completed a full 360 degree flip until I landed on my feet almost with ease. Immediately, I felt joy swell inside of me as I knew I had just performed the best vault I had ever done in my entire gymnastics career. As I walked back to the end of the running strip, my teammates clapped me on the back giving encouragement and support. The exhilaration I had felt after my first vault supplied me with adrenaline. When I began my second vault, I pounded down the runway with new energy and power. However, once I was in the process of flipping, I knew something was wrong. I ended up landing short, causing my ligaments to jam and tear within my left ankle. The audience that was once before bubbling with exuberance, instantly became deflated and silent as I lay there motionless on the mat. But I didn’t cry, I just gritted my teeth. I didn’t scream, I just shook my head. And I didn’t get up, I just sat there clutching my ankle with one hand while resting my head on the other, face down. Sharp pains exploded through my ankle and I could feel everyone’s stares burning a hole right through me. Needless to say, I probably scared the pants off my parents.

From success to disappointment, I had learned that life could change on a dime. After this incident, I dedicated my time to my recovery and I began to understand that in the real world, people experience ups and downs too. Whether it may be about losing a job or going through a heartbreak, it’s the recuperation process that helps strengthen our character. While I was frustrated at first with my injury, I learned to cope with it and began to feel optimistic about how it could help me in the long run. I was determined to not let this slow me down, but rather build it up as a motivation and an extra push.
Gymnastics has been my building blocks for life that I will continue to carry with me into the future. All the countless hours toiling away in the gym have given me the basic fundamentals for achieving accomplishments in life. I have been able to utilize these skills that I have learned, such as determination, perseverance, and time management, and use them to my advantage in school and work experiences. Getting home at a late hour every night has forced me to efficiently get my homework done since I know I don’t have a minute to spare, and when I help my parents in their flower shop, I make good use of my time. The principle of time management has been drilled into my head after so many years of steadily keeping my busy schedule on track. I have attained the qualities of patience, dedication, and focus - patience in the way that I can accept the drawbacks along the way to achieve something greater, dedication in the way my willingness can persevere challenges without giving up, and focus in the way I can accomplish anything by being mentally tough. I intend to employ these attributes that I have gained from gymnastics as I begin my quest into the real world.





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