The First Meet This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Even though the beam is four feet high and four inches wide, it has always been my favorite event. I don't really know why, it's just the thrill of it. I've always loved to watch gymnastics, but of the beam is my favorite event. When I was seven years old, I moved up from the Tumble Bugs, which was for younger children, to the Elite Gym Team for those over eight. I was so excited.

November of 1987 was my first meet. I was so nervous that I could barely walk. I had made it through Bars, Vault, and Floor without a flaw. Now came the beam. I was the last competitor at the meet and very nervous. As I stepped up to the board to mount the beam, my coach said "Try to stay calm. Smile, but most of all, don't fall off." The day before I had stuck a number of beam routines with ease, and that's all I wanted to do now.

The judge raised her arm and signaled for me to go. My heart was pounding so hard I thought it was going to pop out of my chest. Though the routine was a minute and thirty seconds, it felt like an eternity.

As soon as I dismounted and looked over at the expression on my coach's face, all my fears disappeared. When they flashed the score I was astonished. A score of a 8.0 had brought me from an overall third place to first. Ever since, each time I compete on the beam, I remember the words of my coach on that fateful day and all the nervousness is carried away. l


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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