By Hannah Fraser
“This is it,” I thought. My weight shifted onto first one foot, then the other as I nervously rubbed my arms. Catching Szófi’s eye from across the gymnastics floor, I smiled at her, and she grinned back. Acrobatic gymnastics competitions are serious, so I tried to lighten the stress for my eight year-old partner as often as I could. We stood patiently, waiting for the signal to walk onto the floor. Finally, a woman’s voice came over the loudspeaker calling out both of our names, but she also listed the group coming after us. With a start, I realized my trio came next. “How in the world will I change into my other leotard and come back here in time?” my mind screamed, but there was no time to panic, only time to focus on the moment and try not to mess up.
When the music commenced, my muscles took control. Szófi and I danced in synchronization, and then I hurled her into the air, putting all my strength and effort into the throw. We danced some more and flipped across the floor; we made sure to point our toes, straighten our arms and smile, always smile. My whirling thoughts stilled, for if I started to worry about the next move, I would collapse. Soon we arrived at our last pose and froze there, grinning at the judges while they blankly stared at us. As soon as the music ended, chaos erupted.
I dashed frantically down the hallway’s cold, stone floor towards the changing room. The two other girls in our trio, Panna and Flóra, ran beside me. Though I had no time to think or pray, I felt like laughing and crying at the same time. We burst into the changing room, and while I changed into my slippery leotard and Panna swapped my hair scrunchy with another that matched the outfit, Flóra stood nearby doing a strange jig. The trio bounded out of the room, our raspy breaths filling anxious lungs. Suddenly Gabi, my coach, appeared in the hallway, and she began checking my hair. “Don’t panic, you’ll be fine,” she soothed, but the judges were already calling us onto the floor. We made our way through all the mulling parents, competitors, and coaches, and I had to immediately hide my anxiety and stress. “Deep breath, deep breath,” I thought. Once more, the music started.
I felt free and happy throughout the whole routine, letting my legs and arms twirl me to the music; my mind’s only job was to remind myself to breathe. Panna and I flung Flóra into the air where she did a back flip, and we caught her back on the ground. A quick smile, the only means of telling her that the flip was a good height, crossed my face and her eyes lit up. Finally, the routine finished, and once I strolled off the floor my legs began shaking. Stumbling over to our other coach, Győri Bácsi, all three of us received a bear hug. We had done it.
Szófi sat on my lap while we watched other routines. I could not stop beaming because I had completed two routines with Szófi, and two with Panna and Flóra, without any injuries or falls. Nothing could stand in my way now; I could break walls, move mountains, and do four routines in a single competition. Even if we came in last place during the reward ceremony, these moments would always stand in my memory as the time I overcame all the boundaries I placed for myself. Now I see that sometimes we do things that seem impossible, maybe even only to us. Most boundaries are all in the mind, and with God’s help I know can break them down.