The Challenge

October 20, 2010
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I woke up that morning, the sun glaring in my eyes. I rolled over in bed to see that the clock read 5:45am. Everybody else was sleeping in enjoying the relaxing days of summer, but was I able to sleep in? No. I had to wake up early and go swimming. I wanted to try out for the high school swimming team, but as embarrassing as it sounds, I couldn’t dive. So my mother had arranged for a swim teacher to meet with me every morning to work on my diving skills. I got out of bed, grabbed my worn out towel, and went to the bathroom to shower. The hot water on my skin helped relax the nervous feelings in my stomach. Half an hour later I had my bathing suit on, hair up in a ponytail, and an apple in my hand for breakfast. I rushed to the car, and we made our way to the local swimming pool.

It was the first day of practice. As I entered the doors of the gym where the pool was, my head started to fill with thoughts of regret. Why had I ever even thought I could make the team? I would never be able to. My head started to pound. I was overwhelmed with thoughts, and it was like each thought was a little person with a hammer running around inside my head hitting me hard each and every way they turned. I continued my way towards the pool, my steps getting further and further apart and my pace gradually slowing down. But I did make it to the pool, and that’s where I met Becca. Becca was my swimming teacher. She greeted me with a big smile and a hug. She said it was so nice to meet me and she couldn’t wait to get started. She seemed extremely nice and I didn’t feel so nervous anymore. This wasn’t going to be so bad. But the positive thoughts that filled my brain just seconds earlier left as soon as I stood at the edge of the pool. My whole body was shaking, and my feet were holding me down as if the soles had been coated with super glue. Becca hadn’t even asked me to dive. She just wanted me to get in the water. But I couldn’t. I wasn’t ready for the challenge. I stood another two minutes before finally deciding to just go for it. As I jumped into the pool, the cold water surrounded me and I felt so much better. I’ve always loved the water, and I’m a great swimmer. It was just that I hadn’t been in the pool for two weeks, and I was so nervous about learning how to dive I had forgotten how much I loved the water, and that wonderful feeling I got that I was in whole other world when I swam.

The days went on and I tried and tried to dive. Each time I failed. Becca was really nice though and kept on encouraging me. The more times I practiced the more comfortable I felt, and the more confident I felt in my ability to successfully learn to dive. On day 9 of my practices with Becca I was starting to get fed up, and I really wanted to try exceptionally hard to dive, not dive with my knees on the edge of the pool. I wanted to dive standing straight up, and straight into the water. I swam a practice lap, and then got out of the water, ready to dive. I tried but like usual, I failed. The hard water hit my stomach as I landed straight on it. That stingy feeling I had gotten very used to covered my stomach. But I was not going to back down. I exited the water and prepared to try again. I put my arms over my head, my hands meeting each other to form a point. I bent my knees a little, pushed off the ground and dove into the water. My body cut through the water smoothly and without splash. And to my surprise, my stomach did not sting. In fact I felt amazing, as if I had just conquered the world with my hair behind me flowing like a mermaid. I shot up to the surface of the water to take in a breath, and that’s when I heard clapping. “You did it!” exclaimed Becca. I felt a smile forming on my face. I had done it. I had actually successfully executed a dive. The feeling that overcame me then and there was like no other. I was so proud of myself. And it was then that I knew I could do it. I would try out for the high school swim team and I would be able to dive. I left the pool that day a smile on my face that just wouldn’t leave.

From that day onwards I woke up as soon as my alarm went off, and rushed to the pool ready to dive. I went to swim practice for another 2 weeks to perfect my dive, and each day it got better.

The tryouts for the high school swim team finally arrived. I was nervous, as one would expect, but I was confident. I was a great swimmer and I had learned how to dive. I went into the pool that day with about 20 other boys and girls all wanting to try out, too. Only 10 people could make the team, so half of the people there wouldn’t make it. I looked around and I saw some people that looked extremely calm and were talking happily among other kids. Other kids though were shaking and I knew it wasn’t because of the temperature of the water, but because they were nervous. The sound of the whistle stopped me from my train of thought, and I became focused. I was determined to do my best and hopefully that would be good enough for the team. After doing many laps consisting of different strokes, and treading water, it was time for the dives. All I was required to do was dive into the deep end and continue to swim to the end of the pool. It seemed a pretty easy task, and I wasn’t worried. My turn arrived, and I stood with my feet on the ground, hands over my head. The swim coach blew the whistle and I dove in. I felt beautiful, like a swan as I dove through the water smoothly and continued to the end of the pool. I did it. The tryouts were over and all I could do was wait.

A week later, I was checking my email when I saw one from my mom. It was a forwarded message from the high school swim coach, with the results on who made the team. I scrolled down the page looking at all the kids who had made it. Most of them were juniors and seniors. I was a freshman. I scrolled past all the A names, and past all the B names, and stopped at all the people with names starting with C. Cally…Cally…I looked for my name but didn’t see it. My heart started to race, and I went to the K names thinking maybe they spelled my name wrong but my name wasn’t there either. I looked over the whole email again, but my name was nowhere to be seen. I hadn’t made the team. My heart sank and I started to feel tears fill my eyes. But I held them back, trying to be strong. I had worked so hard, and I didn’t even make the team. I went to my mom’s room, and laid down on her bed. She looked up at me from her desk and said “What’s wrong sweetie pie?”
I felt a lump in my throat as I mumbled “I didn’t make the team.” That’s when I actually started to cry.
“It’s okay honey.” My mom said attempting to make me feel better. “Only ten people could make the team, and it’s okay that you didn’t. You’re only a freshman and you will have three more years to try again.”
“I know mom, but I wanted to make it this year!” I yelled.
“Sweetheart, you may not have made the team but accomplished something so great, that you never thought you could.”
“Oh, what’s that?” I asked
“You learned how to dive!” She exclaimed
Oh yea, I did. She was right. I remember thinking I would never be able to, but I did. I guess that’s what matters more. I may not have made the team, but I did learn to dive, and that is something that meant so much to me. I suddenly felt better. I gave my mom one last hug said “thank you so much mom, you’re the best” and left to go to the pool. I was going to keep practicing and keep trying because one day I would make the team, but for now, at least I could dive.

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behappy00 said...
Oct. 27, 2010 at 5:04 pm
um so ya. i love love love this...haha love love love :)))  this is really good...and is not at all POAS so ya girl...ttyl?!?!  haha this should go into the magazine!!!  :))))))))
pippirox12 said...
Oct. 27, 2010 at 4:13 pm
This is really good! Great job!
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