Finishing the Race | Teen Ink

Finishing the Race

January 27, 2015
By ShastaH GOLD, Olympia, Washington
ShastaH GOLD, Olympia, Washington
17 articles 0 photos 3 comments

The wind howls around me; striking my long hair across my face and leaving slight stinging sensations lingering on my cheeks that are tinged a light pink from the cold.
I look down the steep hill that is dotted with red and blue ski gates.  All of a sudden, shivers rack my body in spasmodic intervals. I am conscious of my coach instructing me on how to prepare myself for each individual turn, and my head bobbing up and down automatically like I am a machine, programmed for one specific purpose. However, my brain cannot quite decipher exactly what he is saying. It feels like if I lose concentration for just a second, I will collapse under the pressure that is surrounding me at the top of that ski course.
Almost unaware of what I’m doing, I flick the snow off my skis and position myself in the starting gate. Like always, the gate keeper’s voice is barely noticeable as if someone got into my ear and turned my hearing on mute.  Then… out of a sudden words are in my little world. The most important words a racer will hear before going down a course.
   Racer Ready… GO!
And I’m off. Pushing off from the starting gate with strength I didn’t know I possessed until that very moment. At first the sounds crowd me. They bear down on me from all sides. The cheers of fellow racers, the cheers of onlookers, and finally the steady beat of my own heart. Then, after the second turn, the sounds once again disappear, leaving me in my own world that consists solely of me and the snow. As I pick up speed the snow goes by underneath my feet faster and faster, until it’s just a white blur. My breathing slows down, deeper and calmer. I am no longer panicked and scared; but filled with a passion and emotion that knows one thing.  I want to win. I want to win so badly that it almost hurts. At that moment nothing else matters.
     Until I fell.
Looking back on it I didn’t feel a thing at first. Just a bitter disappointment that filled me with a rage so immense, no words could possibly explain. My friends told me what had happened. Apparently my ski caught on an ice chunk spinning me out of the course and popped both my skis off. I fell on my leg and slid a good five feet down the hill. It was only when I stood up that pain lanced through my knee causing me to fall down again into the course. However, I was convinced that I would not be pathetic and just lie in the middle of the course. So slowly, ever so slowly, I gritted my teeth and stood up. Carefully I grabbed my skis that were lying about three feet away and made my way down the hill.
I still wish that I would have finished that race. But, if there’s one thing I have learned from ski racing, it’s that there is always something that you could have done better, and you need to move on so you can finish the next race.

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