This I Believe

Katherine - Katy, Texas
Entered on December 7, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
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I believe in the power of determination. The power of self-driven hard work and a positive mindset can pull you through any situation if you are truly dedicated.

For the majority of my childhood and into high school, my main extracurricular activities included gymnastics or cheerleading. As a junior in high school, I was a part of both the high school cheerleading squad and a competitive squad, which took up the majority of my time. I truly enjoyed everything about cheerleading especially the football games, pep rallies, and competitions. With the band playing and fans screaming, nothing else seemed more exciting than cheering to a packed football stadium. I wanted nothing more than to continue to be a member of the squad my senior year, and to end my high school career doing the things I enjoyed most.

With tryouts quickly approaching, I felt confident in my skills and ability to make the team. In addition, I was in the middle of competition season for my competitive squad leaving me with little time to worry about school cheerleading. The weekend before tryouts, I participated in the annual Houston competition just as in years before. However, on my last tumbling pass the unexpected happened. I landed incorrectly and shattered the bone in my lower leg leaving me unable to walk. There was no possible way for me to tryout the next week for my high school cheerleading team.

Feeling defeated and inconsolable, I knew my senior year without cheerleading would not be the same. The following week at school was difficult. After two nights without sleep, I finally realized that with or without one leg, I was going to try out for the cheerleading squad. I was determined to get a spot on the squad even if it meant using crutches and sitting in a chair during my tryout process.

With a pair of metal crutches and a determined spirit, I hobbled into the quiet gymnasium that Friday afternoon and tried out for the cheerleading squad. With each hobble my crutches made a loud clank on the gymnasium floor, only making my entrance more unusual to the judges. I gave everything I had during those tryouts, as I sat in the chair in front a panel of confused judges. I knew I had nothing to loose at this point. Without trying I would never know if I could have made the squad, therefore I had to make the best of my situation and use my determination to make the squad.

That evening we were to get the results of our tryouts. Again, with crutches and a stomach full of butterflies, I hobbled to receive my envelope. I had prepared myself for the worst. I quickly opened the envelope and saw written proof of my determination. Somehow I was able to make the cheerleading squad and at that moment I realized the power of the human spirit.

When I look back on this particular experience, I am still amazed that I was able to make the team; however, I now realize that determination can drive you to reach any goal in life. I was not willing to settle for a disappointing senior year, even if this meant using crutches to try out for the cheerleading squad. Whether it be cheerleading or any other obstacle in life, it is possible to pull through with a determined and driven spirit.