Mar 21

“Sometimes the things you love the most are the things you need to give up in order to live”

“Sometimes, the things you love the most are the things you need to give up in order to live.”

“If you want to be on the gymnastics team, you need to be able to do a back tuck!,” Celma called. I was scared to do it. I had been dreading back tucks for as long as I could remember. I really wanted to be on the level 6 competition team. But a back tuck was one of the requirements. I just couldn’t do it. I had to! But I just couldn’t. Tryouts were tomorrow, and I was dreading it. I went to bed with hopes of magically getting on the team overnight. Of course, it wouldn’t happen. I just had to hope for the best. Celma told me I could do it, but I wasn’t so sure.

    It was the day of tryouts. I walked into the gym. My home. I loved the gym. It seemed like it was “my place.” But it wouldn’t be mine if I didn’t make level 6. I would be kicked out forever. It was hard to imagine my life without gymnastics. I had to make the team. My team.

    I changed into my favorite leotard, a purple galaxy pattern. I hoped it would give me good luck. All of my old teammates were there too, getting ready for tryouts. We walked out onto the floor and took a seat. I sat next to Celma, and caught her expression. She looked excited, to say the least. I, on the other hand, looked like a ghost had knocked the wind out of me! I was so nervous I could feel my teeth chattering and my body shivering. “Okay guys, let’s go to Vault first. Each of you will perform the level 6 vault and we will see if you are ready for our team regarding this event.” Coach Lela’s words were simple, but they made me even more nervous. The level 6 vault was a front handspring vault. I could do it pretty well. I thought I did great! My fear was disappearing slowly. Everyone else did great, performing the vault without hesitation. Next we went to bars. I wasn’t too nervous for bars. It was one of my favorite events. I confidently did kips, cast handstands, clear hip circles, and a flyaway dismount. By that time, I was feeling pretty good. By the time we got to beam, I was sure I would make it on the team. Leaps, back walkovers, and front tuck dismounts seemed easy to me. I did it with no problem. Then we got to floor. The dreaded event. Most of the requirements were easy, like front handsprings and split jumps. But one of them was a back tuck. I just had to go for it. I got to the tumbling pass. It was now or never. My dream come true, or my worst nightmare. I decided it was now. I went for it. I did a round off back hand spring and propelled myself into the back tuck. I knew it was a bad idea as I was flying through the air. But it was too late. And that was it. I landed on my neck. Then everything went black.

    I woke up in the hospital. My neck was screaming with pain. The doctors told me it was broken. As I was attempting the back tuck, I landed on my neck, breaking it very badly. My spinal cord had been damaged, which meant I may never be able to walk again. There was no way I could ever do gymnastics again. I was devastated. Gymnastics was my life. Now I had been kicked off of my own team and told I would never go back. Instead of my dream come true, it had turned into my worst nightmare. I had known it was a bad idea, but I had decided to do it. I made way too many sacrifices for gymnastics, and now I was learning all my mistakes. Sometimes the things you love the most are the things you need to give up in order to live. That is the sad reality that not all of us see.