Prompt: Describe an event in your life and how it changed you or someone close to you. This event can be dramatic and/or comedic; major or minor. The assignment should be written as a short story. Ultimately we are looking for evidence of your potential as a storyteller. Please do not write about why or what led you to pursue a degree in film and television production.
an experience that changed how I look at life
It was March of 2018. On top of doing jazz and ballet, I wanted to be even more active and sprint for my school's track and field team. After a month of practice, I was starting to get the hang of things. One day during practice, I felt an ache in both of my knees and ankles but brushed it off.
We did our two laps for warm up and stretches as usual. I pushed the pain to the back of my mind and walked up to the hurdles coach. Our regular coach wasn't with us that day, so the girls switched over to a new one with a new workout. All of the guys went to their respective coaches. At this point, I wished I was with them running long distance.
"Okay, so you all are gonna do, 1-1-2-1's, 1-2-1-1's, 2-1-1-1's..." I looked around in terror. What the heck is that? I walked up to a seasoned runner and asked her what Coach meant.
"1's are 100, 2's are 200. 1-2-1-1 is 100 meters, 200 hundred meters, and then two separate sets of 100 meters. You build up a pace each time, but don't reach sprinting."
At that moment it hit me like a ton of bricks-I was doing the same exercises as the Super Fast Girls who win medals. They went into their runner's stance, and I copied their positions like a child copying a parent. Fake it till you make it, right? As I got into my makeshift stance, I heard my aching knees clearer than the coach's yelling. All of a sudden, everything around me felt silent now, even though I heard the girls' chatter in the distance. Mentally brushing my shoulders off, I found the courage to walk up the coach and tell him my predicament, hoping that somewhere in his heart he'd go easy on me.
"Excuse me, Coach, I just wanted to let you know that my knees and ankles are hurting." I say.
He shrugged at me. I didn't know how to comprehend what just happened. In my mind, Coach would've have told me something along the lines of, "Don't push yourself too hard." or "Only do half of the drills then." But instead, I went back to my spot and into my stance, anticipating the worst practice of my life.
Whee! Before I knew it the whistle blew and my legs moved ahead of my brain. My lungs filled with fire and I was ready to scream. If only I was at a concert where that would be expected and considered normal of me. A hot, stinging, burning sensation spreads through my legs and up to my heart. I ironically felt the need to shiver, only wishing it was 20 degrees colder and that I enjoyed the wind whipping harshly against my numb face.
The first set was over. Whee! The whistle blew again. And again. And again. And again until I lost count because my head and my legs no longer felt like they were apart of my body. The burning was worse, and I felt lightheaded. My water bottle seemed so far away as I walked up to it as quickly as I could. Looking around, I saw the Super Fast Girls panting. Somehow they still looked pristine and beautiful. The Grim Reaper should be visiting me soon.
Maybe he'll spare me?
As I leaned up against the wall trying to regain all of my senses, I noticed the increasing intensity of pain in my knees and ankles. The rest of practice goes by so quickly as if it never happened. I tell my parents everything about it. We make an appointment with the orthopedist I visited in 7th grade for the same injury. After a myriad of tests and being asked, "On a scale of 1-10, how much does this hurt?" the verdict was decided.
"While you are running, your kneecap moves around, which creates friction. And since you aren't as active as you've been for the past couple of weeks, this was too much, too fast for your body. You shouldn't do any physical activity for four to six weeks. No ballet, no jazz, no track." The doctor also told me to do physical therapy twice a week for four weeks.
My world had been smashed into tiny pieces. Everything I worked so hard for had been taken from me in a couple of words. I could already hear my mother telling me, "Everything happens for a reason, sweetheart." The car ride home was uneventful, to say the least. Sadness was etched across my face and I felt on the verge of tears for the whole trip.
This experience changed how I look at life. By trying to do everything, you end up doing nothing. None of us are immortal superheroes that can hold the world in one hand and scroll Twitter with the other. Pacing yourself is essential, and if you forget to do so, the world you built can crumble beneath you.
Not being able to dance or run made me appreciate the things I am able to do rather than the things I am not, on top of cherishing the small things that are right in front of me. Even though I wasn't able to dance for over a month, I learned my jazz class' choreography by watching and mimicking the movement, enough to still put in the Spring dance concert.