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The Breaking Point This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

As I entered the ice rink, a chilled breeze suddenly hit me, along with the smell of hairspray and fabric glue. This is what I lived for; Skating is not only a sport, but a lifestyle. Taking a deep breath, I was prepared, mentally and physically, to take on my long time rivals. In front of me hung a banner, shaped as a large, oversized ice skate, welcoming the competitors to the biggest event of the figure skating season. There was a very familiar nervousness radiating off of each skater, and it created newfound confidence in me. I was ready to conquer the fight for the gold.

The ice rink was painted differently, with a rusty red paint smoothly covering the old pale green paint. I knew this rink from previous competitions, and the changes caught me off guard. The scuff marks were removed from the floor, and new rubber placed down for angry skaters to slide their newly sharpened blades across. The roof now showed, through a beautiful sunroof, the exquisite blue sky of sunny California. The newly redone building was a completely different sight to see, compared to all the times I had been there before. Glancing at the ice, I could not wait to lace up my skates and hear the crowd enthusiastically cheer my name. While daydreaming about being applauded for, I was tapped on the shoulder, and quickly spun around to see my handsome skating partner, Adam, smiling at me. I silently hoped he was as prepared as I was, and his light blue eyes subtly hinted he was.

The second we walked outside, the overpowering heat and humidity hit us like a lightning bolt, yet we did not seem to notice. All hat was on our minds was winning the gold. We began to warm up our muscles by running, our worn out tennis shoes slapping the pavement as we raced each other, not caring about the surrounding bystanders watching us. As Adam began to pass me, I had a sudden rush of adrenaline, and finished our race, beating Adam with flying colors. After waiting for what felt like a lifetime, Adam and I saw our coach Patrick slowly approaching us, carrying our team jackets on his broad shoulders. Towering over me, Patrick gave Adam and me specific instructions on what time we had to be on the ice. After running over our program one last time, we excitedly returned into the rink and began to put on our skates. We knew that all our hard work and effort would go into this performance, and these three minutes would be our chance to shine after all of our hard work throughout the season.

As we conversed about the technical points we would receive in our program, another wave of adrenaline hit Adam and me. We both continuously glanced at the freshly-zambonied ice. It glimmered like a thousand crystals, and highlighted the Anaheim team logo engraved into the ice. Adam and I said a quick prayer, ready to take down the competition. As our names were called, we were swiftly ushered onto the ice, and as our blades made contact, we took one last deep breath and skated out to our beginning positions.

Once in our beginning positions, the audience began to cheer for us, the skating team they all knew and loved. They all were in awe of the gorgeous royal blue and forest green costumes Adam and I were wearing, and the way our skating always complimented each others’. Our routine could not have started off any better. Every move achieved mastery, and we knew our gracefulness would earn us extra points on our artistic score. The crowd could not be more pleased with the beginning of the routine, and the other competitors could not be more frightened about being beaten by the very first skaters to take the ice.

Going into our throw triple axel, our most complicated move in our whole program, I became nervous. As Adam threw me into the air, I began to twist into the air position, and a wave of panic engulfed me. Attempting to pull my blades apart, I realized that there was no way to separate them without physically pulling them apart. The audience held their breath as I came crashing into the ice, and Adam quickly skated over to me to make sure I was okay. I began screaming in agony, and could not move from the ice. Everyone in the stadium watched as I struggled to move, and could see I was in deep pain. I continued to cry and scream, as the paramedics rushed onto the ice. They attempted to give me a pain relief shot, but my body was too cold to find a vein. My mom ran over to me, the rubber from her tennis shoes barely gripping the ice, and held my hand to ease my pain.

The paramedics swiftly put me onto the stretcher, and were quick to untie and pull off my skates while putting me into the ambulance. Rushing to the hospital, they tried again to administer the pain relief shot, and succeeded. Upon arrival at the hospital, I was maneuvered into the x-ray room, and scanned for the source of the pain. Minutes later, the doctor walked into the waiting room and calmly told my mother, Adam, and Patrick, that I had indeed broken my tailbone straight up the coccyx, and would have to undergo surgery. He explained that I would most likely have to relearn to walk, run, bend over, and skate. I would not be allowed to skate for at least six months, if ever able to again.

Six months later, after a long and hard fight with relearning something that had came to me so easily and effortlessly before, I was able to walk and run, and could finally take my first steps back onto the ice. As the familiar breeze bushed the hair from my eyes while I walked into the rink, tears of joy began to form in my eyes. Re-lacing my skates, I felt overjoyed, finally being in my comfort zone, like a student returning home from college for the holidays. I walked down to the ice, capturing the feeling I had missed so much, and prepared myself to take my first step onto the ice. I took a deep breath , as I had the last time I had skated, and effortlessly glided out onto the ice. The ice was my home, and I was prepared to conquer every fear and to become as amazing of a skater as I had been six months before.

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