I looked up and sought my mother and my dance coach who were clutching each other for dear life, like little girls holding on to their security blankets. The only two remaining were me and my biggest competition. We stood there waiting for the judges to begin, with only the drum roll in the background and the crowd silent.
Dance immediately engulfed my life at a young age. At age twelve, I had set my personal goal: to place at nationals. I began to prepare to face my biggest competitor, Becca, who had been my rival since we stepped foot on the same competition stage. One day, while mechanically running through my normal routine, a razor-sharp pain sent me tumbling down to the floor and to the doctor’s office. I was diagnosed with Osgood-Shlautor’s disease. The doctor’s orders were to rest for a month. Having the mind-set of a dedicated athlete, I did not want to stop; I could not stop. But my conscience forced me.
I dealt with weeks of crumbling frustration and pain as my team practiced for nationals. For the first time in my life, I was the bench warmer; I didn’t get much practice.
Finally, standing in the dark, claustrophobic, back stage area at nationals, the crimson red curtains stared back at me and reflected the light off my purple costume. I felt as if I were standing in line for a rollercoaster. Fortunately, my coach came back stage to console me.
“Are you ready to do this, Brooke?” she asked hoping for a positive answer.
“No I feel like I’m not practiced enough” I responded.
“Even though you didn’t get as much practice as the others, you are ready. Tell yourself that you can do this.”
My mind clicked into a state of readiness. I was ready to accomplish my goal. I stepped onto the stage and took my beginning pose. The music and the crowd’s energy lead me through my unprecedented performance.
The awards began as soon as all of the routines were done. The twelve pre-teen soloists walked on stage and stood in a straight line, as if going into battle.
The judges began to announce third place; my name was not called. Everyone else was told to walk off stage, leaving Becca and I. As in a race, the only solution now was for one of us to win and the other to take second place. The judges started, “And the winner of pre-teen soloist is… Brooke Bieganski!”
I believe if one sets his/her mind to something, it can be accomplished. I knew right then and there that dance was my future. Through all the ups and downs, the injuries and victories, I told myself that I could place at nationals. With a strong mind and perseverance, one can overcome adversities to achieve his/her highest aspirations.
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