Ambition

By , Morristown, NJ
It seemed as though every track team in New Jersey was at West Point that Friday afternoon. Middle school students traveled in packs to their running events or to concession stands. They definitely didn’t care about this experience, or at least not as much as Laura.

Running was her life. From an early age, she dedicated her life to this sport and she turned down any other recommended sport. Laura’s parents encouraged her to try playing basketball or softball. Still, she felt permanently assigned to track.

Laura had her whole life planned out; she would run track on her high-school team. In her senior year, college recruiters would notice her talent and offer her a scholarship. In college, (preferably Princeton University), she would also run track while also keeping up with her schoolwork. Laura thought that after that, she would make the National Team and go to the Olympics. Although some called her arrogant, she considered herself ambitious.

But for now, she was a middle school student standing at the starting line, waiting for that startling gun to go off. About 20 girls surrounded Laura, crowding her and fighting for the best position to start in. She didn’t care; the fastest runner would win anyway.

Despite the fact that this was just a meet, just for fun, she thought this could be the start to her career. All of her practice would hopefully add to her prosperity after this race. Laura heard the blurred shout that indicated that all runners should prepare for the start of the race. She leaned down while her heart beat faster and faster. She looked at the red track in front of her, and one last breath before the gun shot a puff of smoke into the air.

Laura darted forwards, trying to get an early lead. She stayed in her lane, keeping focus on the sharp turn ahead of her. Other participants stayed behind mostly, but a few kept up with her quick but steady pace. The first three laps of this mile-long race were easy for Laura; she had just timed herself yesterday and finished at 5: 38. She knew she could beat this time, and with one lap to go, she was ready to finish strong.

Finally, she could see that she was just a few strides away from the finish line, where timers looked at their watches and cheering friends screamed as encouragement. Laura was in first place and was about to win the State Championship for her event. As one of her last steps before finishing, she bent her knee into an awkward position. While this was happening, she put pressure on this uncomfortable leg, and could hear it snap. As a result of this, she fell to the ground, enduring the pain. Her knee throbbed as it was still bent in an unusual position. Tears swelled in her eyes as she held her swollen knee into her chest. Through blurry vision, she could vaguely see her coach and multiple timers surround her as they tried to get her off the track without harming the crippled leg anymore than it already was.

Laura knew this was not going to go well. Her knee could never and probably would never regain its original strength or position. She cringed at the thought of losing her ability to run. What about college or the National Team? How would she get into the Olympics now? Her overwhelming thought continued as she entered a hospital entrance and passing people had to look away from the gross sight of her. She knew that she wouldn’t fulfill her dreams. She needed a new plan.





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