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A Winning Moment MAG
Phone ringing ... adrenaline pumping ... palms sweating. I reached for the phone. “Hello?” I said tentatively. Little did I know that call would change my life.
Later, barely able to sit still at the dinner table, my news almost burst from my mouth.
“Well ...” I began, catching everyone’s attention.
“What is it, Connor?” my dad asked anxiously.
“I made it into ‘Footloose!’” the words sprung from my lips like runners from their starting blocks.
“Oh my gosh! That’s wonderful!” my mom exclaimed. They were so proud of me. It was like wearing a golden badge on my chest. This was the best thing that had happened since sixth-grade track season!
Suddenly, I felt overwhelmed. I thought back to all my hard work to get into this production. I had spent days with the co-director preparing the song I would sing. Going to the audition with high hopes, I sang and danced my heart out. After the final callbacks, I had been given a part.
As we prepared to leave for our first trip to Naperville, my mom complained about the drive. Hardly listening, I smiled to myself as we drove, dreaming of seeing myself on stage performing for hundreds of people. It was an amazing sight when we pulled up. Even though the car was still moving, I jumped out and walked through the front doors.
“‘Footloose’ ... this way!” a woman yelled over the throng of people. It seemed as though I was the youngest in the cast and once again I felt as though I had just won the biggest race of my life. We all introduced ourselves, releasing some of my anxiety from meeting so many new people. When it was my turn, I could barely speak. “Hi, I’m Connor Relyea. This will be my third play overall, and my first community theater production.” After this, I felt a weight lift from my chest as though I had just overcome the first obstacle.
During the next three months I endured grueling practices, long rehearsals, and sometimes, painful injuries. Many times I thought about quitting. Between my personal life and my parents spending so much money driving back and forth, I almost collapsed under the pressure. Yet, through everything, I continued to see my dream that had come to me during that first day of practice. I wanted to be on stage and nothing could stop me.
The last week of rehearsals were the best and the worst. I had many great times, such as getting the blocking down with the set and props, and bad moments, like running into someone with the coffee cart and knocking everything off. We listened to every detail our director gave us to ensure we had as close to a perfect opening night as possible. The entire week before I barely slept because I was so anxious about the first performance.
Opening night finally arrived. Anxiously getting dressed and warming up, we got our final instructions from the director: “Okay, everyone, it’s the night that will blow the other nights away. Let’s go out and have a great show and remember: have fun.”
We all quietly wished each other luck. I was so worried that I would forget a step or lyrics that I hardly heard a friend come up behind me and lightly touch my arm.
“Connor,” she whispered. “Break a leg and don’t worry, you’ll do fine.”