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I am in Charge of My Own Gymnastics

“Within every difficulty lies opportunity,” Albert Einstein once said. Almost always, when something influences you and the life you live, it can be seen in a negative way as well as a positive way. It is always easier to sulk in the negativity of a situation, yet always beneficial to find the positive side. If you can see both sides of a situation, it becomes easy to see how the difficulty leads to opportunity. The one thing that causes most kids my age difficulty, and provides them with opportunity, is sports. Sports are known to teach life lessons such as discipline, teamwork, and self-motivation, yet sometimes the lessons go much further than that.

I have lived my entire life under a strict schedule and intense discipline by my coaches and myself. I have lived my life as a gymnast. Gymnastics teaches incredible life lessons that you will never forget. The most important lesson I learned was using my maturity to communicate and be in charge of myself. I can’t even remember the amount of times I heard my coaches tell me, “You are in charge of your own gymnastics”. Sometimes, I had a tendency to ask questions about absolutely everything when I needed to decide for myself. Other times, my coaches would give me something to do that I really needed to say no to, and I would still do them. On occasion, when I was injured or afraid, I would avoid doing things as opposed to just asking for help or something different to do. Although it took me many years and a lot of pain to figure this out, I eventually did.
I began having intense back pain two years ago and often times my coaches didn’t seem to care. Even though they probably regretted always telling me I was in charge at this moment, it became clear to me that I really was. When I knew there was something wrong with my back, I simply had to keep my mouth closed and walk away.
I thought I had realized then that it was important to take control of myself, but I didn’t understand why until a little while later. When I went to the doctor, I found out my back was broken in two places. This was supposed to put me out of gymnastics for a few months; instead, it took me out permanently. Considering it has been almost two years and I am still in physical therapy and pain most days, I strongly believe this injury ruined a lot of things for me. It caused me more pain than just in my back because gymnastics was all I ever know, and all I really wanted.
What it took me a long time to realize was that it also opened many doors to a wonderful future. After I had tried and failed to return to gymnastics pain free many times, I resolved to becoming much more serious in pole vault. I used to be so upset with the fact that I couldn’t have the one thing I really wanted, that I failed to see pole vault is a miracle for me. I can’t even sit in a chair without my back hurting, yet I can pole vault with hardly any pain. Although the initial injury of my back put me out of pole vault for my junior year, which is also the most important year for sports, I haven’t failed to show everyone that I can come back stronger than ever, and I mean it. I am currently doing very well in pole vault, always improving, and have made it my goal to pole vault in college next year. If a broken back didn’t stop me from my dreams, I don’t know what possibly could. If I hadn’t taken charge of myself and picked myself back up after being so broken, physically and mentally, I would never be in the position I am now.
Albert Einstein was a man who truly knew what he was talking about. Difficulties can affect you in so many ways and you have to be willing to see each and every one of them; the good, the bad, and the in-between. If it weren’t for this change in my life, I wouldn’t have found my miracle. “Sometimes, good things fall apart so better things can fall together.” Marilyn Monroe said his statement almost as if she knew my story. I will always remember what better things came to be as a result of my injury and I still continue to tell myself “I am in charge of my own gymnastics”. I believe my life and gymnastics can be interchangeable terms because one has taught me so much about the other.



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