Focus

November 29, 2010
Staring straight ahead, waiting for my turn, I concentrate on what I have to do. Its nothing I haven’t done before, but in order to perform perfectly, I will need to take each element at a time. I can’t lose. I won’t lose. Victory is my only option. My coach suddenly appears before me, ready to give me a last minute pep talk as I pull off my sweats and chalk up my hands and feet. I keep hearing “this is no different from practice, the beam is the same” play over and over in my head, as if on a broken record. The gymnast before me sticks her dismount and salutes the judges-my time has arrived. As she awaits her score, I slowly make my way over to the apparatus. I hear the PA system snap on, but I quickly tune out the voice as other competitors scores are broadcasted. This is not about them, it is about me.

The crowd applauds as my name is announced, but I try not to listen. I simply have one shot at getting this right; there are no do-overs. The buzzer announces that it is my time to perform, and my hand takes off in a salute. I march towards the spring board and punch all of my strength down into it. I whip through the air as close to flawlessly as possible and land soundly. I breeze through one component after another, until I arrive at the dismount. I play over the last two months of training in my head: every toe point, hand position, and correction. Everything I have learned over the past few months comes down to this moment. Instinctively, I leap back reaching for the thin piece of wood keeping me from hitting the floor. I visualize what I have to do only moments before I do it. My feet hit the ground with a gratifying thud as I look around the room and slowly let my wall of concentration down as the sights and sounds creep back in.





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