Perseverance: Try, Try Again

Madeleine - Pasadena, California
Entered on February 4, 2009
Age Group: Under 18

I was nine years old and it was the second meet of the gymnastics season. I am sprinting down the runway, hurtling towards the vault at top speed. I prepare myself to go flying up and over the vault as I jump onto the springboard. Then, all of sudden, my foot slips and I slam headfirst into the front of the vault. Oh no! One vault totally wasted! Thankfully, on vault, one gets two tries so I salute the judges once again and give it another shot. Missing again would be fateful and, barely able to see through the tears streaming down my cheeks, I sprint toward the vault a second time. This time, I punch on the springboard, fly over the table, and stick the vault perfectly.

This just comes to show that no matter how many times you mess up, you must “try, try again”. For me, this is most evident in gymnastics; I have done this sport for eleven years now, and I have learned that when learning new skills, you will fall multiple times before you succeed. For example, on bars, it was my kip; while on beam, it was my back-handspring. Overall, however, getting my kip probably took the most time and patience to learn.

A kip is one of the more basic and rudimentary elements on bars, but it is also one of the most important. It is basically the skill where a gymnast jumps to the bar, swings forward, swings backward while bringing her legs up, and then ends up on top of the bar. At the age of six, this particular skill took me two years fraught with hard work and frustration to learn. However, I did succeed in the end, thus proving my theory that if a person tries hard and perseveres, no matter how many times he/she fails, that person shall succeed. I went through a similar process while learning my back-handspring on beam.

A back-handspring is where a gymnast jumps backward onto her hands, hopes her hands hit the beam, and then continues flipping to her feet. This skill is especially difficult particularly because the fear of missing one’s hands, which I have done on the high beam several times, never goes away completely. Learning this skill required much determination and a full year of learning the back-handspring on the low beam, where I painfully and consistently missed my hands, until I was adroit enough to work my way towards the high beam. In this case, I literally fell multiple times and had to keep trying again in order to learn the back-handspring.

So how does this apply to real life? Nobody is perfect, meaning that everyone will mess up. However, those who succeed in the long run are the people who get back up and try again anyway, despite much discouragement. Getting your driver’s license is a perfect example. Often times, teenagers may not pass their driving tests the first time, but they can move past their frustration and can continue to try again in order to pass.

In order to succeed, one must “try, try again”. Success requires perseverance, meaning that one must work hard, remain determined, and continuously try again, despite having to contend with numerous setbacks. This especially applies to me in gymnastics when it comes to learning new skills like a kip (bars) and a back-handspring (beam). The name of my gym is Club Champion, and I have grown to believe the old adage that states, “Everybody falls, but a champion always gets back up,” thus proving that if one perseveres, in the end, he/she will succeed.