“Up next the junior jumper, Tyler J,” says the announcer.
I start my approach. I think I’m flying. I’ve never felt so free. It’s as if my life was bound for this. Then I come down. I hear a loud, but clear voice: “22 feet 7 ? inches.”
I think I’m dreaming. Did I, Tyler J, break the long jump record at my school?
My grandma told me I would be good at track, but stubbornly, I never listened. Freshman year passed, and during sophomore year, I thought about track as my grandma texted me, reminding me track would be perfect fit. I thought about it, but I passed up the opportunity once again.
Junior year was the year I went out for track. I felt comfortable with my new environment at school and I was sick of the consist nagging of my grandma.
Track ended up being my strong suit, as I participated at conference in the 100 M, 200 M, high jump, and long jump.
During the day of conferences, I found out my dog was put down. It was hard for me, but Coach Newman told me God has great things in store for me and I just need to realize what opportunity was in front of me. I didn’t know how to believe him, but I did.
As I set up at the blocks for 100 M, I shut my eyes and took a deep breath. BOOM! The pop from the gun gets my feet going and running.
“Go, Tyler, go!” The only thing I’m hearing is that shriek from my coach and teammates. On the final stretch, I’m at least two steps ahead of everyone. I received first place at 10.8 seconds.
Long jump was next. Coach Newman congratulated me on my performance. My heart was at ease and I focused on my next event. I set up for my first jump. As I started my approach, I take off, I don’t want come down, but I did. I hear, “17.8.” And needed better.
My coach talked to me as the other jumpers went. He said something I’ll never forget: “Tyler, just smile and it will be a beautiful day. You’ll see.”
I didn’t understand him, but then it hit me. I don’t need to dwell on the things I lost. God has great things for me–even if I don’t meet his standards or I do something wrong or I make mistakes. I can be great.
At that moment, I get called up. Starting my second approach, I take off.
“18.6,” says the announcer.
Just be me, I tell myself.
On my third approach, “19.1,” says the announcer.
At that point, I was .3 off of the record of my high school. On my final approach, I ran as fast and as hard as I could. I take off. I launch myself and fall into the pit feet first and hurling forwards. I’m waiting as they measure my distance. I hear, “22.7 feet ? inches.”
My coach gives me a big hug. He tells me I did a great job. I did something only I could do for myself. I was being me. I still made a name for myself.
I know what I’m capable of and what I can accomplish. I don’t leave unhappy. I stick to what I want to succeed in. Even if I fail, it’s part of life and I understand that.
My grandma knew something about me I didn’t yet know about myself. She knew if I tried at something you won’t succeed at it, effort is key. I can do anything if I put work into it. And in almost breaking the school record, I did just that. I was myself, even if it isn’t as you wanted it to be.
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