Overcoming Adversity

Jessica - Mesa, Washington
Entered on December 12, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
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I didn’t consider myself to be a hurdler until my coach convinced me otherwise when I was fourteen. I wanted to win, and I had found my ticket. Hurdling came innately, and my season was a breeze of victory. I yearned for the feeling I received when I crossed the finish line before the other competitors, the ribbon floating all around me, and knowing I could beat them, anywhere, anytime.

Anxiously making my state appearance freshman year; I failed to perform. I didn’t make the 100 meter hurdle finals as expected. This forced me to realize that what I wanted wouldn’t come easily. Overwhelmed with disappointment, right there, that day, a fire started in me and there remained.

Hurdling became my obsession, for I now had a dream and a fierce desire to be a state champion. Prior to my senior year, I hit the weight room daily as well as changed my diet to one containing more nutrition. Hardships and trials also came along as I battled my flat feet, shin splints, and strained muscles; pain insisted on being to be my constant companion.

As the returning District Champion of 2007, I predicted an effortless ride to state, but I didn’t realize Katherine, a fellow competitor, expected the same. Surprisingly, she began to dominate the league, including me. My love for success forced me to work harder than I ever thought I would need to during the season just to win a small invitational. Unfortunately, I never won a 100 meter hurdle race that season if she was in it. She was ranked first in state, while I was ranked second, and it showed. Each race I would close the time gap, but never fully.

We both qualified for state, and now faced preliminaries and finals in Tacoma, WA. During preliminaries, I blew Katherine’s time out of the water. As the new state leader, even more weight rested on my shoulders.

The next morning I determinedly stepped into the blocks. Waiting for the gun was beyond nerve-racking. This was my last 100 meter hurdle race; I had to accomplish what I had set out to do. As the gun sounded, I stormed out of the blocks with such emotion and power. For the past four years I had pushed my body to the limit, it was time to show what I could do. I ran over those ten hurdles with absolutely everything I had, ignoring my opposition. At that precise moment, nothing else mattered.

That day, I ran the best race of my life as I crossed the finish line as a state champion, as well as the new school record holder. I had finally succeeded in what I wanted so deeply. I had given my all and sacrificed so much, even when things didn’t go my way. I had gone from not even making finals my freshman year and experiencing countless injuries, to becoming the best. I overcame my own kind of adversity; I am a state champion.