I started off normally. I took in a deep breath, puffed out my chest, and began to run. After three quick steps, I launched myself forward, completing the first front flip. All of a sudden I slowed down. I didn’t go into the first flip with enough momentum, but it was too late. I was already committed to the front tuck. I jumped straight up into the air, bent my knees into my chest and rolled forward in mid-air as gravity began to pull me down; unfortunately, I didn’t rotate fast enough. I hit the tumble track still in a fetal position, feet first. The recoil of the tumble track caused my legs to bounce upward with great speed; the effect of gravity caused my head to continue to come downward with its own great speed. SMACK!
I fell to my back and rolled over to my stomach in a daze.
All of a sudden I began to see dark red drips hit the tumble track in front of my face from my right forehead. Then the drips became streams.
All other voices in the gym meshed into one in my ear as the room began to spin and the drips turned into dark red streams. Half my face was covered in my own blood, and my shirt was now speckled to match. I made my way to the end of the gym to find my coach and teammates who helped me orient myself, and more importantly stop my panicking. However, they couldn’t stop the bleeding. I somehow managed to abide by the distant voices that commanded me to stay conscious as I saturated towel after towel in warm crimson.
An hour later I was in the ER still attempting to stop the bleeding as the doctor sewed up my forehead and my mother gave me an earful about why I should have since quit the sport.
I stepped onto the tumble track and began to think about what I was going to practice. It had been 6 weeks since the accident and before then three of my nights a week were spent in this gym, along with bottles of sweat and time. Six weeks of staring at the tumble track with trepidation and reluctance before finally walking away…until today. I landed the front handspring with a tuck 5 times in row. People asked me why I came back so soon, whether or not I had learned my lesson, and even why am I still doing it at all.
“Well I didn’t get this scar for nothing.”
In a society in which unpaid loans and mortgages have led to economic turmoil: divorce rates once reached 50%; the college dropout rate continues to grow; and the high-speed internet, fast-food and other technology allow us to get whatever we want whenever we want it, the concept of commitment easily loses its meaning. But I believe in commitment, and that what we put into anything is what we get out of it.