A Sign of Passion

Heather - USA
Entered on April 13, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

Approached with a very thought-provoking question from my uncle, I was hesitant. “Do you still get nervous before your competitions?” he asked. Admitting the truth, I believed, would be looked upon as a weakness; a lack of confidence. I pondered the thought of blurting out, “YES, Every time!” However, embarrassed by my thoughts, I shyly responded, “Well, maybe sometimes.” He chuckled at my tentative response and explained the motive behind his question, “Nerves show passion; as soon as you lose the nerves, you lose the sport. I’m glad you still get nervous!” Years later, I still believe that nerves are simply a sign of my passion; not only for gymnastics, but for life.

Countless times in school, I’ve been the victim of my nerves. They’ve been the nights where I stayed up into the wee hours to finish my work, times when I’ve completely re-done projects, and then the moments where I second guessed all the information I knew so well the night before. My work defines apart of who I am; I have a passion to learn.

Throughout my entire life, between class and schoolwork, I spent all my time at gymnastics. Every practice I expected myself to do double flips, double twists, connected flips, flips where I let go of the bar and then must re-catch it, and of course, flips on a four inch beam (four feet off the floor), all with perfection. Each time I performed I would get butterflies in my stomach. Most notably, before the national qualifying competition, I actually became so nervous that I threw up. Eventually, I got my nerves to “fly in formation” and ended up reaching my goal of qualifying as a national competitor. I live for the feeling of an absolutely “nailed” routine; I have a passion to perform.

Triggered by my passion for gymnastics; my childhood dream began to develop. Finally, eleven years and more than 4000 days of holding onto this dream, the moment of truth was standing in front of my face. To this day, I remember the first time I saw the University of Iowa gymnastics team compete at the Field House. At seven years old I instantly decided that was what I was going to do. When it came time for me to take my “official visit” to meet the team (and make my college decision) during the summer of 2007, I was swarmed by nerves. Filled with anxiety, I desperately wondered if they would like me, if I would get along with them, and if it was everything I’d envisioned. I have a passion for my dreams.

I strive to live my life so when I look back, I will have no regrets. Coming to the understanding of the meaning of my nerves has allowed me to realize my true passions. My “butterflies” are a sign of the zest I possess towards these aspects of my life, this I do believe.