You Can Do It!

January 10, 2010
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“I cannot do it!” Hayley belted out in frustration. She was a recent friend of mine that I had just met in my last gymnastics class. She was tall and slender and had bright red hair with freckles on her face. She was disturbed by the fact that she could not learn a new skill that everyone else seemed to perform effortlessly. She had all intentions to quit right then and there. As soon as I heard this, I reacted with understanding and compassion, knowing that a little confidence and encouragement could give her the boost she needed.

“It is ok. It takes time to learn how to do a back flip,” I said with patience. I remember when I used to feel the same way. When I first took gymnastics I was five years old and I hated it with a passion. I felt discouraged about what I could do when I compared myself to the other athletes. They were all bigger and stronger than me. My arms and legs were white sticks in comparison to their well-built muscular frame. I was about a foot shorter than most of them and they could probably to a flip over me if they wanted to.
The coaches never took a full interest in me and made me feel unwanted and just another worthless kid who could not do much. They would make me do cartwheels and snicker because I had bent arms and legs that made look like a flipping fool. “Do it again, Ricky!” they would yell teasingly.
“But I already did it,” I said questionably. “You know what I can do,” I said with a downcast attitude.
“But it is…fascinating,” they all choked out trying not to laugh. As I did the cartwheel the coaches would make the other boys look and all would give a silent but mortifying chuckle. Because of this, I disliked the coaches and thought them intimidating and harsh. Most of them were old and not interested in little kids. I desperately wanted to either never go to class or always leave class early. But during class, I always worked harder than everyone else and I thought that I should be recognized as one of the best even though I had not been taking gymnastics that long. “I stink!” I yelled out in anger and disgust. “It is too much work especially sense I have not gotten acknowledged for anything!” I roared and bawled with rage.

“Please, Ricky, do not give up. You have got to keep on trying!” my parents said encouragingly. They tried to send me a calm touch of compassion and hope but I shoved it away with resentment and distrust.

“But I cannot do anything!” I cried out in distress. I was ready to give up. My self-esteem and confidence level had plummeted all the way to absolute zero. I was cold and wanted the other’s warmth. My hard work and pride had turned to fuel my anger and jealousy. I began to think that only buff, good-looking athletes with muscles as big as bowling balls and abs of iron that executed every skill with grace of an angel could participate in that sport. I was clearly not one of these types of athletes. They were the best of the best. Clearly, I was not the best of the best. I was not even the best. I did not have the confidence to become one of the best. I believed I was inadequate. I believed I was a failure. Hayley was feeling the exact same emotions as I had when I first began taking gymnastics. Her self-esteem and confidence level was dropping at a steady rate. She was cold and reluctant to see the optimistic future ahead of her.

“But what if I do not get to your skill level?” Hayley bitterly said ashamed of herself. I was the wealthy specialized worker and she was the pitiful new apprentice. But instead of being a nasty unpleasant boss, I would be a compassionate tutor because of my empathy for Hayley.

“You will get to my skill level if you truly believe you can. You must not give up, work hard, and have confidence in yourself,” I spoke with the same intentions as my parents had on me. She could not see herself being as good as me without my help just as I could not see myself being as good as the older boys above me without my parents’ help. It took me a while to finally listen to them as to what they were trying to portray to me. I was in frenzy about going back to that edifice of torment and agony yet, deep down inside of my aching heart; I was drawn there because something in me never felt complete.

“Fine, I will go back and try again!” I bellowed. I was annoyed with my parents’ pleads. I did not know why they wanted me to stick with this particular sport. I thought it was silly and stupid to make me do something that I did not excel in. This would be to the equivalent of someone telling a sumo wrestler to run cross-country. It is impossible! But it is possible to train the sumo wrestler how to run a mile (even though it may take a long time). That is exactly what was going to happen to me.
I started to enjoy gymnastics classes. I was always eager and ready to learn new skills and exercises. I even began to make better connections with the coaches and thought them to be the most fun and playful and best role models I have ever had (apart from my parents)! They made lessons fun and exciting while still making sure we got a great workout. I never have regretted coming to any classes. Over the years my muscles began to grow bigger and stronger. I was no longer the little shrimp I was before. I thought I would never learn more than a simple cartwheel, but as soon as I acquired a back handspring, everything changed. I became even more talented and was able to learn advanced skills like layouts and fulls. I had a strong and uplifting catharsis with my accomplishments and made me want to help and congratulate others on their endeavors. I also felt fortunate to have wonderful parents that helped me reach a level in something I could only dream about.

Through this event I have learned how to receive and give encouragement. We are all going to go through hard times, stress, and frustration. We are all going to fail and be disappointed in certain choices that we make. That is why we must look at the positive side and must not give up hope and our dreams no matter the circumstance. We must tell ourselves to keep on giving our best shot whether we hit or miss. We must remember that out of adversity come amazing and wonderful things.
And yes, Hayley did eventually get her back flip!





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