An Unforeseen Change

November 30, 2008
By Leigh-Ann Naccari, Kenner, LA

I had just sat down at my desk to begin some homework after Cross Country practice when I remembered that I needed some pictures for a school project. Sighing, I arose from the chair and began to look through some photo albums when I happened upon some old pictures of my friends from dancing class. As I gazed at these photos, I reminisced on the time when dancing was my everything, and when one decision changed it all.

Since I was three years old, all I had ever done was dance. I did try some other sports for a small period of time, but my focus, energy, and effort reverted back to dancing. For this reason, I was utterly stunned when my mom told me that I had to become involved in an additional pastime so that I could be more actively involved with school. So in seventh grade, after much convincing, I began to run for the school’s Cross Country team, though I was injured and could not finish the season. The next year, I started high school at Mount Carmel Academy, and, because my mom still pushed for involvement in school activities, I auditioned for the eighth grade dance team. Though I was hesitant about the decision to run in high school, my older cousin, who was already a member of the team for two years, encouraged my vacillating mindset to come to a halt, and I resolved to try to run with the Cross Country team.

At the first practice, I was fatigued and breathless, having to walk to the finish. On some days, I wanted to quit, but I could not. The encouragement of my teammates kept me coming to practice each day, along with the support of my family, friends, and coaches. As the practices continued, I continually demonstrated signs of improvement that compensated me for my hard work. And I kept on attending those practices each day, week, month, and year.

Now, as a senior in high school, I am still a part of the Cross Country team, and I see the results of my mom’s constant push for me to be able to gain more friends with the involvement. However, she gave me much more than this. She allowed me to learn through this experience to overcome obstacles, to search for the benefits of situations, and to be determined to achieve. More than this, she demonstrated that new experiences, even those we may neither expect nor desire, can yield a plethora of otherwise unrevealed knowledge. So, as I walked back to my desk, I took with me a picture of my dancing friends and of my Cross Country team, smiling to myself at the girl in ballet shoes in one and in running shoes with mud in the other.

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