My heart was racing as I stood at the edge of the board. The glistening pool rippled below my feet and the expectant faces of my newfound teammates peered at me from the poolside, eagerly waiting for my attempt. There was no backing down. Although I had never attempted a back dive before, I took a deep breath and launched myself into the air. “I’m finally doing it! It’s not so bad.”, I thought. Overcome with the joy of commitment; I felt on top of the world. Then reality hit. Splat! The dreadful sound of my flop reverberated throughout the room. My embarrassment stung even more than the red mark on my back.
When I came up with the idea to join the diving team during my senior year, almost everyone thought I was joking. Diving is a very obscure sport in Nebraska, and before this year, like most of the school, I was unaware that Mercy had a diving team. As a co-op with Brownell Talbot’s aquatics program, the team only had one member before this year. Unlike most divers, I had no prior tumbling or gymnastics experience. I couldn’t even do a simple backbend. However, my adventurous spirit thought it would be fun. After looking into it, diving became the perfect opportunity to stay busy and in shape during the winter season. So I took a risk and dove right in.
The morning after my disastrous first practice positively changed the trajectory of the season. As I walked into the pool my coach exclaimed her surprise at my return. “I didn’t think you would come back after last night.” I couldn’t help but laugh at her honesty. However, my rough start did not hinder my determination to continue. The next two weeks were filled with progression and high spirits as I quickly learned six exhibition dives and improved each day.
February marks the last month of diving, and I have a lot to reflect on. Diving has given me a sense of confidence and perseverance that I never knew I needed. Growing up, I dreamed of being able to flip and twist into a pool. Now I have that opportunity every day. Each practice presents new trials and tribulations, however nothing compares to the joy of committing to a dive that seemed impossible just a week before. Diving has been the most rewarding experience of my high school years. Never be afraid to try something new because it could change your life for the better.