I've decided to spend some time here on the blog telling stories from my life. Stories that have been floating in my head for awhile. They seem to me like the kind of stories you tell when you're out with your friends. Maybe new friends, the ones who haven't heard every detail of your life. They casually mention some random comment and instantly a memory comes flooding to your mind and next thing you know you're telling them the story about your first crush or when you stopped believing in Santa or how angry you were at your best friend when you were six and she scuffed up your brand new white tennis shoes. Those kinds of stories. I hope you enjoy them or that they give you something to think about.
In 9th grade my best friend at the time, Jackie, talked me into trying out for the gymnastic team. This was quite the accomplishment on her part considering I get dizzy doing a somersault and can't even begin to do a cartwheel. Nevertheless, youthful optimism prevailed and off we went to the tryouts.
Once there we were met by the girls who were already on the team. I guess these were the girls who were on the last years team and therefore were already through and didn't need tryouts. We spent a few minutes doing stretches and then it was time to get down to the serious part- the actual tryouts. Our first tryout task was to run down the lane as fast as we could, jump on the springboard and flip over the vault. Why that didn't have me running for the door? I'll never know. It didn't even cross my mind at that moment that I would have any difficulty completing the task. For whatever reason I stayed, completely unfazed by the reality of the situation...I was doomed. One by one I watched the girls who were already on the team demonstrate how to do this task. I remember being in absolute awe as they seemed to literally float in the air over the vault.
Then it was time for those of us trying out. It wasn't until it was my turn that I became even slightly concerned that this might be difficult for me. I remember in my mind somehow realizing there was no way I could accomplish this, yet my heart kept believing in the impossible.
So I went for it. I took off running down the lane and as I approached the springboard I remember throwing up a last ditch prayer to God. Something like, "Lord, let me fly!" I don't know what exactly I was hoping would happen at that moment. Maybe I figured the hand of God could reach through the roof and float me over the vault or at the very least loan me a pair of wings so I could fly over. Whatever I was hoping for, it didn't happen.
I reached the spring board and froze. By that point it was too late, my body could not stop. Apparently my body hit the vault and fell over in a painful slow motion kind of maneuver. I say "apparently" because I have no recollection of that moment. I remember finding myself flat on my back on the other side of the vault, unaware what had just occured. I knew pretty quickly it was not pretty because all the girls were around me and no one was laughing. Everyone seemed very concerned as to whether or not I was ok. I stood up, hobbled over to the side of the room insisting I was fine. Needless to say, I didn't make the team.
I think back on that story now and I just have to laugh at it. What was I thinking? Chalk it up to youthful optimism or ignorance, either way it's funny.