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Final Destination: Jock

What a weird feeling, everybody at the pep rally looking at me, and me, looking at my long-time enemy, gymnastics’ uneven bars. How did I get here and why am I doing this? For that question, we need to go back three years to my freshman year.

New high school, new trends, new teachers, and no friends. This was how I began my first day of high school. Early on, I noticed the presence of sports. Letter jackets, trophies in the halls, announcements about sports, and posters caught my eyes and ears everyday. Then it hit me, I needed to be on a sports team. How? I did not know, but I was determined that by senior year, even though I am a girl, I would be considered a jock, a cute, athletic, and sporty type of jock.

Before I knew it, there I was, my first high school gymnastics tryout. When was the last time I did gymnastics you may ask? To that question, my response would be when I was seven, almost ten years ago. So why was I here? I was there as a sophomore on my quest to make a varsity high school team and I was determined. During my freshman year, I tried out for two teams and was cut from both. This was my time to shine and I was positive that I could make the team.

After three days of bending, twisting, and spinning, it was the day I had been waiting for, cuts day. I was about to figure out if I had made the team or not, whether I could achieve status in my school or not, if I could become a jock or not. We were given folded up letters with instructions of not to open them until we were out of the presence of the other girls. I anxiously waited to be picked up by my mom on the freezing October day. When I finally got picked up, I jumped in the car and ripped open my letter. I had made the team! As stoked as I was, I was also worried that the coaches had messed up and had given me the wrong letter. For the entirety of the next day and at practice, I clung to my letter in case the coaches approached me to tell me that I was there by mistake. Thankfully, that never happened and I was able to shake off the feelings of doubt and concentrate on honing my skills.

My sophomore year and first year on the team went off without a hitch and I invited my newfound athletic friends into my life and enjoyed my heightened popularity. I was not the worst, nor the best on the team. I progressed quickly gaining my handspring on vault and back tucks off of beam. All went smoothly and I was excited to try out again for the team in my junior year.

A year later, I was in the same position I had been in a year earlier. This time, however, I was confident. I threw fulls on floor with ease and performed a tsukahara vaults that looked like I had been performing them for years. I knew I would make the team and be a star. Was there a problem? Oh yeah. Only ten people tried out for the team. Not enough to make cuts. Everybody made the team and I was devastated that I would technically survive cuts because there were no cuts. Oh well, I was able to brush that little blemish out of my mind because I was the best and I knew it. Well, the best at everything except bars.

Bars has always been my worst event, and everybody else’s for that matter. It separates the cheerleaders from the gymnasts, the trained from the imposters, and the season gymnasts from the club gymnasts. I always have had an issue with flinging myself around a bar, peeling skin the size of quarters from my hands, and collapsing on my arms. Even though most people that knew me knew that I was athletic, many people in our school did not even realize that our school had a gymnastics team. My coach had asked about how to solve that problem. Her solution? Have us perform the most impressive even at the pep rally, bars.

So that brings us back to the beginning of this story, the pep rally. There I was in front of a whole school of speechless teens because our most impressive gymnast on bars had just gone and I was placed after her. I heard the crowd cheer for her when she flew high and nailed her handstand pirouettes and release moves. Needless to say, I was terrified. Performing well here could secure my jock status until I graduated. In the seconds before my hands touched the bar, all I could feel was my nervous pee and the thought that my teammates were cheering for me.

I forced myself to kip up to the bar. I was off. I could feel the familiar feel of the bar under my hands and I soared. I nailed every move with pointed toes and straight legs that I knew must have looked graceful due to my tall stature. As I was swinging into my dismount I knew I had killed my routine and started to come out of my tunnel of concentration to hear the crowd cheering. All I had to do was stick my full flyaway dismount and I would be able to count on being the most athletic girl at the school. I landed. I had done it! All of the hard work and excruciating hours that had been put in had been worth it. I was able to make people believe that the gymnastics team at our school was legitimate while becoming the most recognizable athlete at our school. Next stop, states.





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