What I Wanted To Prove

June 1, 2012
By Lindsay Schilperoort BRONZE, Sunnyside, Washington
Lindsay Schilperoort BRONZE, Sunnyside, Washington
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

When you are little, everyone wants to be treated like a “big kid”. I wanted to be respected; I didn’t want to be that one little kid who didn’t belong up there. I wanted to sit at the ‘big kid’ table.

In my six years of swimming, I never felt like I was allowed to sit at the proverbial ‘big kid’ table. I felt out of place, almost like I didn’t have the right to be there. I could almost hear the other girls’ thoughts, “She doesn’t belong here, she’s not fast enough, not good enough.” Never enough.

What I wanted was to be like my brother Clay, who has won all kinds of things. I could just see my parents’ faces if I did something just as good as him. I wanted to be on the receiving end of their pride this time. I know that they are always proud of me, but this time, I wanted to feel like I deserved it.

My mom drives me to early morning practice every day for two months every summer year after year. My dad is always there to cheer me on at meets, even when he has to work to do. They both take time out of their own lives to come and watch us. I wanted everything they did for me to pay off, so it would be worth it.

I wanted this trophy because it would be a symbol of my struggle to fit in with this crowd. This would give me the opportunity to be proud of myself for once. That shiny gold figure says to me, “Here’s what I have to show for myself”.

By the time Championships rolled around, I was feeling pretty good about my race. I started to believe I had a shot at this. I knew I could make it into finals, but I just flat out didn’t know what was going to go down, because anything can, and will happen.

The actual race part is a kind of blur of the water around me and the constant thought looping through my mind, “Faster.Faster.Faster.” The instant I touched the rough, scabbed wall, I stood up and ripped off my goggles. I could barely breathe and my legs felt like rubberized jelly. I got my head together and glanced up at the electronic sign board. It read Lane 4: 1.

I could not wrap my mind around that. Was I in Lane 4? Are you serious? No way, that can’t be right. Wait, hang on, I am Lane 4! I dragged myself out of the pool with a huge grin on my face. I did it! I was so excited, you don’t even know. My best friend was there waiting for me with a towel and a giant hug. Now I felt like I was worth something to this crowd of people I had grown to love.

So now, looking at the gold swimmer on my windowsill, I remember the rush of water in my ears, and my dad’s dorky smile, trying to get me to grin. I finally belong to this crazy world of swim team.

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