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  • Diana

Tom boy meets girly girl

I had no idea how to walk in heals but I knew how to tumble on a four inch beam and I wanted a 10.0 more than I wanted an A+. This is the mindset of a gymnast and that was my mindset for 11 years.

The gym had this distinct smell. The smell of chalk, combined with love and frustration reminded me of home. This sport was taxing mentally and physically but I couldn't even imagine the day that I would take my final step into the gym.

However, that day crept up quicker than I thought. I never considered doing a pageant. But when the opportunity presented itself, my mom made me choose between gymnastics and pageants. I put all my faith into the chance of representing my town, state or even country. What this tom boy didn't realize was that everything she learned as a gymnast would help her in pageantry.

When I think about my gymnastics career, I think of hardship, joy and something that shaped who I am today. I remember battling against something that tore me down but built me up. After all the coaches, the hours of training and conditioning, there is one memory that defines what it takes to be a gymnast.

I was warming up on bars at the first competition of the season. I did a fly away half off the bars (a back flip with a half twist) and wasn't completely satisfied with my performance. My teammate encouraged me to try the skill again. I did and after I landed, I couldn't stand up.

I thought, it was over. I am never going to qualify for states. I can't walk. What is my mom going to think.

I later found out that I sprained my ankle and it felt like my life was over. I battled with myself and my mistake. Looking back at this year, it sums up my career as a gymnast. You will fall, but you will get back up and succeed. I would have never thought that my last year as a gymnast would end by placing fourth at states.

In pageantry, you will fall and you will get back up. You will perform, and you will learn. You will hear 'no' when you know that you are a 'yes.'

I grew up searching for perfection, a 10.0. I was close, but it was never accomplished, according to the judges. Although, gymnastics made me a 10.0 because I learned how to be a leader, a team player, dedicated and fearless.

In pageantry, we look up to the titleholders who are courageous, strong and passionate. Gymnastics taught me how to be a titleholder before I even realized that was my dream.

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