Everyone faces a challenge in life. Some big, some small, some are life changing. Life creates barriers that make you feel like life is unfair, like everything and everyone has turned against you. And it hurts, to know, or to be told that your dream is not possible.
When I was little I took gymnastics classes with a dream that one day I would be just like those elite gymnasts that were able to do flips, tucks and handsprings so gracefully. I would go to gymnastics two times a week and then come home and keep practicing. I progressed faster than the average seven year old.
One day, four years later, I came home and started to get ready for my gymnastics lesson, my mom walked in and told me that I didn't need to get ready for my class because I wasn't going. I was shocked and wondered why. My mom sat me down and told me that they didn't have enough money to keep paying for gymnastics. I was furious and absolutely heartbroken. I cried uncontrollably and no one could comfort me no matter how much they tried. I knew my dream had been thrown away in a deep pit and no one could retrieve it. I felt that my childhood dreams of being an elite gymnast was over.
About week later I learned about a woman named Joni Erickson. She had been paralyzed in a tragic accident when she was a teenager, and she overcame a the challenge of knowing she would never move again. That got me thinking that if she could overcome a hard barrier like that then I could make my dream work.
I started asking around if anyone would pay me to do housework or stuff around their house, I was desperate. I got jobs from family friends and I was able to pay for my own gymnastics lessons. My mom told me that I was the most determined person she had ever seen. I told her that I realized that I wanted something, I was the one who had to work for it. What can I say, desperate times call for desperate measures.
Jackie Robinson had to overcome the color barrier to play in the Major League Baseball. My experience relates to Jackie Robinson because if he hadn't had the courage and determination to overcome the color barrier, having a black play on a Major League Baseball would have been impossible. I felt that my dream had come very close to being impossible.
The values that tie our experiences together are Determination and Commitment. I was so determined to keep doing gymnastics to reach the peak of success, and I was committed to it so I practiced everyday. Jackie Robinson was a baseball player, determined to succeed in Major League Baseball and in breaking the color barrier. When Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier, he made a clear statement on what he believed was right.
Because I believed I could succeed and because I was so committed to gymnastics I am still reaching my goal, bit by bit. Jackie Robinson's story is inspiring and whatever barrier I have to tackle, I am determined to push through them because of all the examples that people have set in my life.