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Finding the Perfect Placement

Tossing my rifle a good 30 feet into the air always ends well for me. As a spinner for my high school's Winter Guard, spinning is my life’s passion. I can do anything when the rifle is lofted into the air—a daring leap, a pretty arm, or even a simple turn around. As long as my eyes never leave sight of the weapon’s slender neck and bolt, I can trust it will quickly descend into my well-trained waiting hands. In a toss, it is not the rifle that is in charge, it is me. If my hands twist the wrong way, the rifle will “football” and land crashing into my face. If I toss into the wind, it will surely fly away. However, if my placement is just right, if my hands are perfectly aligned, the white rifle will fly straight up and fall straight down locking in to my free hand with perfect timing.

I began as a spinner 4 years ago and I instantly knew this was love at first sight. I didn’t know anything about spinning, but I had one sophomore friend on the team and she was over the top enthusiastic about it so I thought, “Why not try this?” What I came to find out is that guard is a mixture of so many things I already love. It is teamwork; it is performing; it is dedication; it is love. While I know spinning can’t be the activity that will consume my life after graduation, I plan on continuing my relationship in college through marching drum corps and independent teams.

Tossing my rifle into the air always ends well for me. But tossing my self into other things has not always ended so well. All through middle school I would receive praise and honors for my writing. I completed assignments on time; I made the teacher smile. When I entered my freshmen English honors class, that moment is when things changed. I had never received a “C” on a writing assignment in my life and there it was in red, bold lettering, “Danielle, your average!” Ouch, that hurts. At that moment, I was sure I had twisted the wrong way and life was going to come down crashing into my face. I wanted to drop the class, cry, stop believing in myself, hate the teacher for lack of understanding my greatness, and never write another essay again. But it is not in me to run away from something I want. So the next time an essay came around I worked on my writing twice as long. I had at least 10 other people to read and comment on my writing. I even took it to my teacher before it was due for a last minute edit and check. The result: a “B”. It wasn’t the “A” I was working for, but I knew I had pushed past that moment of crash and burn.

In my life, some chances for greatness have been tossed to the wind and thrown directly out of my hand. I didn’t take the SATs my senior year; I didn’t think I would do well enough so I didn’t try. I didn’t want to face a potential failure so I never took the risk. In chemistry my sophomore year, I had my priorities wrong. No lab book complete, no chapters in the text book read, no passing grades on exams—yet another opportunity flying away. And this essay, last minute to be sure. I was terrified to apply for a scholarship because I feared I would be rejected. But as I said before, it is not in me to run away from something I want.

It is not the rifle who is in charge, it is me. It is me. I’m in charge of the direction my life will take from this moment forward. My eyes are focused on getting into the right college and not screwing it up. When I find myself with the wrong placement, I’m going to pick myself up and try it again. And when I do find that perfect placement, I know things will end well end for me.



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