Community or Competition

I shakily stepped out of the car. I had to grip the door for support. Even though it was a calm, sunny day, I was freaking out. Carefully I pulled my ice skating bags out of the car. I could’ve sworn the bags had gotten heavier. I slowly walked into the rink and started to jog around as a warm-up. I also stretched and jumped rope. I was totally exhausted from nerves and the running and jumping to stay warm. I looked at the clock, and to my dismay, my warm-up had only taken five minutes.

The clock hands seemed to inch slower than usual, and I grew bored, so I grabbed my ice skates and started to lace them up. The worn laces were rough on my hands as I pulled them, so hard that my fingers were on the verge of bleeding. Slowly I stood up. I was extremely scared. I pulled my jacket around me and stepped forward. My skates teetered with every step; it was as though I had forgotten how to walk. I looked around at all of my competitors. We stood there in silence; nobody said anything. After all, we were competing against each other.

Time suddenly seemed to zip by as I realized it was my turn to do my routine. I was about to step onto the ice when a girl who was competing against me whispered, “Good luck! You are going to do great!”

I pushed off onto the ice with a little more confidence. What she said had meant the world to me. At that moment, I truly understood the meaning of community and realized that we were not just competitors trying to be better than one another. We were all a community of people who had the same passion. We all worked extremely hard to get to this moment. Even though I was wearing a short sleeve dress, I felt a sudden warmth spread across the rink. I heard the music start. There was a steady beat, and I looked up. This was exactly where I wanted to be, with a few new friends on an ice rink. A smile stretched across my face, and I skated my best.

I finished the routine with the final position, and glanced at everyone around me. After I stepped off the ice, I tried to take the time to say, “Good luck!” and smile at every person. The smiles seemed to be contagious, and suddenly everyone was laughing. Once we had finished competing, we walked out together. Even if we were all competitors from different parts of the United States, we could still be friends who loved ice skating. Being competitors was not meant to separate us; it was meant to bring us together. In that moment I did not care about the results. We had skated our hardest and deserved a chance of doing well, and even though we all wanted to win, the competition was never about winning; it was about bringing people with the same hopes and dreams together.

Read more: Student Voices Project 2018

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