Reverse One and a Half

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I take a step. As I do the rough board scratches at my feet. My nerves are unbearable, why do I do this? I breathe out. I need to relax. I can’t do this if I don’t concentrate. Reach the end of the board, jump up and out, stretch back into my tuck, wait, come out. Reach, jump, tuck, come out. Reach, jump, tuck, come out. This becomes a mantra in my head; it is all I think, all I feel.

I take another step. Be careful! Make sure it’s not too big. That could mess everything up: I could miss the board; I could fall off the end; I could get scared and come out at the wrong time. Stop! Push those thoughts away; they won’t help.

Another step; my last one before the jump. At this thought my nerves roar freshly to life. Like butterflies in my stomach, they make me want to stop, to give up. But I reach the end, I jump. In the background I hear voices, cheers:
“Go Bella!”
“You can do it!”
I fold into my tuck. Oh what if I’m too close to the board? Shh. I wait…
“Hup!”
I kick out of my tuck at my coach’s call. My arms reach back behind my ears. I stretch my body, lengthen it. My hands become folded together and flattened, ready to hit the water at any second. Slap! As my hands hit the water I slip through the hole they have left behind. My splash is small, it is good.

I have done it. My nerves are gone, my thoughts calm. I swim through the cool water to the edge of the pool to hear my coach’s suggestions. They fill my head as nerves begin to creep up. I take my place behind the ladder and reach up to get on the board. Here we go again.





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