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Splashdown This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Spleashdown

by M. F., New City, NY

"Are you ready? I don't have the whole day," the coach exclaimed.

It was a beautiful January morning. Mike got his stuff, put on his sneakers and slowly walked outside. He looked back at his house like he was saying good-bye for the last time. The snowflakes were sparkling, reflecting the sun rays. "Are you all right? If you are nervous, don't be. This is not a matter of life and death," the coach said. Mike looked pale and nervous.

By the time they got to the car, it was about 7 a.m. The car ride was an hour and a half, but it seemed like forever. "OK, this is it. Go change and get ready," the coach said. They both went inside, Mike to the locker room and his coach straight to the pool. As Mike was walking to the locker he thought, Let's see now, what would be the best excuse for not diving? Headache? No, that wouldn't work, too obvious. There is no way out. I am gonna have to dive in front of all these people. That thought was like a trigger of a loaded gun, which once you pulled, there was no way back. After about a half an hour of being in the locker room, Mike decided to come out. As he stepped outside and looked around, he saw many people just staring at him. He quickly turned away and looked down.

It was 9 a.m. when the diving practice began. Each diver had a half an hour to prepare himself for the big meet. Mike was the first one to take his practice dive. He felt stiff and couldn't move until somebody yelled that he wasn't alone. Mike finally decided to go. His coach watched his student practice and smiled proudly.

It was 9: 30 and the judges finally said that they were ready and would give out the numbers to each diver that indicated the order that they must follow. "OK," said one of the judges. "The first one to dive will be Michael Jones from ... ." As soon as Mike heard his name announced, he froze. He couldn't hear anything else. His heart started beating like a clock. So far it had been worse than ever and now Mike had the best chance to be the first one to mess up.

After all 27 names were announced, Mike was ready to go. The three judges sat down on both sides of the diving board. Mike slowly climbed the three steps. He stood on the board in a very straight line, hands at his sides, his head high. Mike realized that no matter how bad he performed, he should still be proud of himself for making it this far.

Mike did his four-step approach, looking very confident, slowly elevating off the board, making a twist and penetrating the water with barely a ripple. 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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