Fly (over the hurdles) This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

May 9, 2013
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"To the line!" yells the ref.

I walk to the line to get ready. I feel the rhythmic beats of my heart. My breathing is controlled and steady. I back into the blocks. My feet in a downward position that used to feel so awkward and foreign to me now feels so natural. I test the grip the small spikes attached to the blocks to see if they would hold correctly.
'Yep...' I test it again, '...yep.... good....'
I sit up in a comfortable position and wait.
"On your mark!"
I position my fingers a millimeter away from the thick white line in front of me at a shoulder length apart one another. Pushing my thumb downward and my middle and index finger to the side.
"Get set!"
I push my body forward to the point I feel as if I could fall on my face at any moment. I feel the tension in my arms as they start to shake from holding my weight on only three fingers. I look up for a brief moment as see the many hurdles ahead of me. I am not scared for the first time.
I feel a calm anticipation at what is ahead of me. My legs twitch in excitement. I feel like a cheetah about to attack its prey in full force. I turn my gaze downward to the track that has become so much apart of my life in such a sort time.
I feel my legs shoot out from beneath me pushing me full force towards the first hurdle. I do not hesitate. My right foot doesn't even touch the ground before I have my right going over the hurdle following my left. I run the next short length again, ,and again and each time, I can't help but smile.
'I am flying...' I thought in awe.
I do this over nine more times before I reach the ten meters left to sprint to the finish line. I push full force. Feeling exhilarated and more free than I have ever in my life.
I cross the line with a smile on my face.
'I did it... I did it... I did it!' I smile widely and walk off the track. My legs wobble from beneath me. I keep walking to get the soreness out of them.
While walking over to my friend Trent I feel someone clasp a hand on my shoulder, I look up in surprise. My coach was smiling widely reaching his eyes and crinkling them.
"You did great!" he exclaimed enthusiastically gesturing towards the hurdles. "You've come so far!"
I couldn't help but be surprised. When I first started I never thought I would ever hear him complement me. Ever. I almost looked hopeless going over the hurdles bringing both legs to the side leaving my spine bending at an awkward angle. By the time I hit the ground I looked as if I would fall on my face.
I recover quickly from my surprise knowing that in track if you didn’t have confidence you weren’t worth much. So I smile in gratitude and reply with a simple, “Thanks!” We shake each other’s hands before separating. I watch as he rushes to watch the second heat.
By the sounds of it many would think I won the race. I did. But I didn’t at the same time. I beat myself. For the first time I wasn’t scared of the track. It became apart of me for that moment. I felt connected to it and the people who ran, hurdled, and sprinted before me. I finally earned my wings. I could finally fly.

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