This I Believe

Danielle - Provo, Utah
Entered on September 30, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: sports, work

When my mother signed me and my brothers up for the summer swim team, I was not at all excited. I hadn’t been on a swim team before and was really nervous. But, after the first day of practice, swimming became my life. I continued to swim during the school year and when I entered high school, I enrolled on the school team. As I practiced, I became faster in the water and qualified for several state competition meets for my high school team, as well as my club team.

During the swimming season of my junior year in high school, I went to the doctor for a checkup and I was told that I should see an orthopedic because the curvature of my spine wasn’t the way it was supposed to be. After seeing an orthopedic, I was told that my spine had severe Scheuermann’s kyphosis. I was also told that as I got older, the condition would only get worse and surgery was needed to correct my spine. In this surgery, two rods would be placed on the sides of my spine and cadaver bones would be inserted between my vertebras, along with twenty screws to hold the inserted bones in place. After telling my swim coaches about the surgery, they told me that it would take six months for me to be able to swim the way I used to and that the next season probably would not be my best.

After the surgery, I had a lot of limitations. I couldn’t swim for three months and I wasn’t able to compete for six months. When I was finally allowed in the water, it was hard just to swim one lap. My new and improved back wasn’t used to the movements and it was very painful. I decided that I would have to work hard, harder than I ever had before. I believe that hard work will benefit in some way, maybe not in the way intended, but it will benefit. I went to swim practice every morning all summer and even though I was behind in all the workouts, I would keep swimming. It seemed that I wasn’t improving, but as time went by, I was soon able to complete all the sets in just a couple of months.

At the start of the high school season I didn’t know how I would be able to perform. At the first competition of the season, I was able to swim the times I had before the surgery. By the end of the season, my times had dramatically improved. I didn’t intend or even think I would be capable of improving my times. I believe that hard work will benefit in some way, maybe not in the way intended because not only did this experience help me gain the ability to work hard in swimming, but it also taught me how to work hard in the academic area of my life as well.