Normally you get courage by doing
something, or being so confident in yourself that you think that you are going
to win everything. Being too confident is very risky: I know from experience.
One normal day my coach announced
that we were going to Petersburg. I was so confident in myself that I thought
going to a place where I had never swam before was going to be easy. In fact, I
was so excited, that every day seemed like years. But, life goes on, right. So
I knew that eventually I would be on a boat heading to Petersburg. Soon I was
there, on the boat, not in my head, but for real.
"This is going to be the best
swimming trip ever!" I yelled off the end of the boat into the brisk open air.
Not feeling that I have yelled enough, I howled at the moon like a wolf. Then
some of my friends joined me. Now we were a pack of wolves howling at the moon
like it stole our lunch money. A few minutes later an adult came barging in
saying with an annoyed look on his face, "I've been looking all over for you
guys. Come back in and get some sleep." Reluctantly we made our way into the
room where we were going to sleep.
I couldn't sleep; there was a knot building up
in my stomach. When we woke up it was in the afternoon. The 16-hour boat ride
seemed like it was never going to end, even though I slept through eight of
them. By the time the swim team to Petersburg it was late at night.
The next morning my coach came
bursting into the boy's room yelling like a mad man, "Breakfast, breakfast,
breakfast!" Everybody was pulling their sleeping bags over their heads trying
to block out our crazy coach. In the end he won, we were all up. After
breakfast it was time to go to the pool.
On the walk there, the wind
started to howl; it started to get hard to walk. The wind was so crazy that we
were moving as fast as a snail; I figured that it would take a long time for us
to reach the pool. So I started to think. I realized I was about to go to a
totally new place that I had never even seen before and didn't have a plan. The
knot in my stomach was getting larger every minute. I was frantic! What if I
miss my event? What if my goggles fall off? What if I belly flop? I felt like
ripping off my hair.
My coach noticing my craziness
and said, "Hey man, are you ok?"
"Yes, I am fine," I lied.
Trying to calm myself down, I
thought, I have been to many meets and
swam many times. Everything will be fine. That day everything turned out to
be fine. I was very relieved. The next day was a different story; it was the
worst day ever. I was climbing on the block ready to dive. As soon as my hands
touched the water I knew that this wasn't going to a good race. I was at least
five feet deeper than everyone else, which means it would take me longer to get
to the surface and that's where I get most of my speed.
The next race was the 100 breast
stroke. I was pretty sure that I was in first on the last length so I decided
to do one of the stupidest things you can do in breast stroke. I looked around
the pool behind me. I didn't see anyone so I decided to take is slightly easier,
but I didn't see the one guy at the end of the pool catching up to me. He was
six tenths of a second faster. I lost.
I did badly in every event that
day. I was slower than my previous times; it was awful. I was heartbroken. All
my confidence went down the drain. I felt like crawling in a hole to die.
When I woke up the next morning I
had two choices: be miserable or, go out there and redeem myself. I chose the
second option. I was ready to win everything. The pool was cold and the
bleachers were noisy, a perfect time to make the crowd roar.
And that's what I did. I got up
on the block, heart pounding little beads of sweat dripping down my face into
the dark pool. I dove in, my heart beating faster and faster. As I broke the
surface, I thought to myself, I will own
this race. And I did for the first length, then I started to get tired.
Other swimmers were getting
closer and closer, my arms started to drag. My shoulders started to feel like a
piece of metal cooling getting harder and harder to move. But all I could think
was no, I can't lose this, not today.
I pushed myself to the breaking limit, but it paid off. I won!
Everyone was jumping and
screaming. I wanted to get out of the pool and huge my coach, but I couldn't. I
was too tired to get out of the pool! It took me a little while, but I got out.
Later I asked my coach why
everyone was so excited, he said, "You swam so fast you qualified for JO's! (JO
is junior Olympics) I couldn't believe it.
That is how swimming should feel.
You should feel accomplished of yourself and proud. I was lucky to be able to
redeem myself, and if I didn't I would have been in a slump weeks. So don't go
into a situation feeling over confident. Because if you get crushed, you might
not get a chance to redeem yourself like I did. And here I am, the day after I
got back from Petersburg for the second time, and can't wait to go again next