Playing Destiny

May 25, 2012
Clutching the washed out cobalt railing gives my fingers splinters, but does not give me enough warning to turn back. It is my turn to jump, off of the porch and onto the black bouncy surface. I glance back at the girls who wonder why I am frozen like a glacier, so I prop myself up and look over the ledge. I look straight into the eye of the emerald summer grass and become fixated with its deep dark pupil. I know I am afraid but I also know it’s a risk I am willing to take, maybe it’s a chance for me to face my fear? Heights have always been daunting, ever since the carnival when I was young and would look over the edge of the Farris wheel and cry my little eyes out to get off. Nevertheless I ignore my intuition, jump, and plunge off the wooden porch and onto the eye of the trampoline. I land somewhat slanted on my feet so my knees give in and I hear an alarming crackling sound which radiates through my back. I think nothing of it and I for the second time I ignore my intuition and descend from the porch as if an invincible dove taking flight. However I am no graceful anything. I land on my target and hear another ear piercing crack. I lay there as a fragmented hour glass whose time has just ran out.

Later at cheer practice, the pain with the realization that something is severely wrong sets into my mind and spreads through my entire body. The seventy five pound girl is hurled up into the air and as a back spotter it is my duty to catch her. As the girl dives down into my arms all I endure is the feeling of many knives jabbing into my lower body. It is kind of ironic how as the back spotter in this situation, I don’t even have the reinforcement of my own back, and I am expected to support another’s back. I catch the lightweight girl and it feels like instead of gravity holding myself to the Earth that I was holding the Earth to gravity. I collapse in painful sobs and when I look up all I see are beams of uncompassionate eyes.

Competition is coming up and all my coach cares about is getting our routine together, there is no time for any difficulties. Everyone is expected to be on the mats with winning smiles. I have an under bite and braces, so it is not just painful to move but it is also very painful and awkward to smile. At this moment my life things could not get any better, oh wait it can.

After performing in two competitions due to not wanting to let the team down, I was in so much agony that even laying in bed hurt. I finally went to the hospital and discovered that I didn’t just have a sore back, I in fact cracked to vertebras in my lower spine. No big deal right? I am in seventh grade, I have a broken back and need to get a back brace. It is the end of the world, my future has suddenly swerved a dirt road, and all I see is a plastic prison with Velcro bars.

Although the three long lasting months in the back brace never healed my bones, I still hold on to the one in a million chance my doctor remarked that it can still “spontaneously” heal. I may be just a dreamer in this situation but at least I dream of something magnificent. That time I spent in that brace really made me embrace life for all it offers. Feeling real pain makes you appreciate the simple things in life, like wearing your favorite shirt without worrying if plastic is bulging from your body or giving your friends piggy back rides without the fear of getting hurt.

Breaking my back at the time felt like the worst possible thing that happened to me. But as I look back I would not have had it any other way, I now look at it as a great fortune. It changed the course of my life. I look back and see how it impacted the friends I made, my grades, my work ethic, and where I am today. In the end it all becomes great destiny, and its what you do with the cards that destiny deals you; you can fold or hope and keep playing. Sometimes the worst hands makes us the best players. I chose to keep on playing because I believe that fortunate things can stem from even the greatest misfortunes in life. As the old saying goes, fall down seven times and get back up eight.

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