The Vault This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

May 12, 2010
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Wilson’s up, Jacob’s on deck, and Van is in the hole. The first two names change every time, but the third one’s always the same. I tell myself, “I can make it, no problem.” This jump only means placing and helping the whole team win the meet. As I place this thought in the back of my head I place the team saying, “you can do it,” in front. I bounce around to let out anxiety, although it looks like I’m just warming up. Before I know it I am up, and I didn’t even hear when I was on deck. “Colton, check my step. Poppe watch my form…please,” I know if I mess up I will want to know what I messed up on.

Everything is set, I’m in uniform, and I’ve got my helmet, pole, and spotters. Now to block everything out, and focus on the bar that seems ungodly high. Stepping forward, doesn’t quite feel right, back up, stepping forward, feels good, kicking up heals I sprint, accelerating rapidly. Focusing hard on getting to full speed, while staying in control is difficult to get used to. But, after three years of practice this is easy for me. The plant can be most fatal. Keeping speed, I take two short steps to prepare for the almost back flip of a jump.

Both arms are straight and perpendicular to each other, one straight up, the other parallel to the ground. I’m careful not to set the pole in the back of the box, so I don’t rip my arm off. Perfect! Right in the middle, on the bottom of the box sits the end of the pole. Feeling the pole mush into a perfect bed lets me know I’m doing it right so far. Getting and staying inverted, takes forever to get used to. I hold longer than I feel I should, but I know it’s the correct thing to do. There’s no turning back once I make my arched back, go straight.

As my feet flirt with the bar I twist my body so I can push away my pole. Gladly I watch the bar as I vault six inches over it. Being careful not to hurt myself on the way down, I keep my arms out of the way and my legs up. Poof, with closed eyes I wait for the dust I can’t see, to settle. Pit dust in the eyes, hurts tremendously, especially while wearing contacts. Staring up at the bar above my head with a huge grin, I sit up to watch the spectators gawk at my amazing feat. Last, but not least I exit out the side, not the front, to avoid disqualification.

Pole-vaulting is a complex and amazing sport. It requires complete dedication and trust in ones self. It may not be safe, but the thrill it provides is worth it. Pole-vaulting is a sport where awards can be won for not only the team, but for the player that earned it too. No one can ever be held responsible for messing up something they hadn’t done either. Like this, there can also only be one person responsible for what they had done well. Whether I vaulted thirteen and a half feet in the air, or only eight, I know that I had made the height. I also know that I made the jump and that there is no one else to credit for it but me.

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forgottenpenname This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
May 26, 2010 at 7:38 pm
Very cool to read... I've always wondered what it must be like to be a pole vaulter. You explained it well. Great writing.
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