"Four, three, two, one, heel pop," The vaulters repeated to themselves. As I await my turn the fear of letting my team down races through my mind. As the volunteers struggle to raise the crossbar, I stare down the long narrow runway. listening to the crowd cheer rapidly. I repeat to myself "trust yourself, you can do this." You can almost smell the fear of the athletes awaiting their turn. Imagine how I must feel all eyes on me. As I tightly grip my pole my knuckles turn white. The aroma of the steamy tar from the runway feels the air. I can taste the salty sweat as it settles on my mosit lips. The cross bar is up. The crowd goes wild. I listen to my coach's stern voice " You got this...focus...just like we did at practice." My heart is racing, my palms moist frow the sweat. My team is cheering, I tune everything out. As I dart down the runway, I count my steps "Four, three, two, one, heel pop," I whisper to myself. The pole smacks the plant box. Up, up, up I go. As I invert the cool breeze sends chills down my spine. A burst of adrenlin rushes through my body. Im soaring through the air just like a bird would, praying that I dont hit the cross bar. The feeling is amazing, like no other feeling in the world. I let go of the pole and push it away. The pole falls, the round man catches it before it hits the ground. I hit the mat. It's soft and warm from the sun beaming down onto it. I slide across it, leaving myself with a bleeding mat burn. It stings! I pop up and glance up to check to see that the crossbar is still up. It is! A smile appears on my face. I can hear the crowd applauding and my team cheering loudley. I hop off the mat and snatch my pole. I place the pole back into its bag and skip to my coach "How'd I look?" I asked him. " You did amazing," he replied with excitment! "You did it just the way we practiced. Your run was great and you really exploded off the ground," he added. "You jumped 8.6f that is the best you have ever done," he exclaimed! I asked if I could see the recording of my jump... He showed me. I watched to see what could use a little more work, becuase I had one jump left and it was a race for fifth place. I realized that my sprint was good but it could have been better. I was already exhausted, but I knew I had to give it a shot. My heart was still pounding out of my body as I awaited my turn I continued to practice my run and try to explode powerfully off the ground. All I can say is that my fifth place medal was well worth it.
December 18, 2008