I’m a Chucker
”I approach the board. My face depicts a confident composure, but my heart races with adrenaline and excitement. I make the ascent up three stairs. Just beyond the sea-green board lay the water glistening—untouched. I adjust the fulcrum and stand ready.“303C-reverse 1 ? somersault tuck,” says the head judge.What?! My eyes dart to the head judge.
“May you repeat the dive please?”“Yes. 303C-reverse 1 ? somersault tuck.”“I’m supposed to do a 302C-reverse 1 somersault tuck. I’ve never done a reverse 1 ? by myself.”“I’m sorry, but that’s the dive your coach submitted…”I only tried this once, and it didn’t go well.“…I’ll have to disqualify you if you don’t do this..
.”The last time I attempted this dive, I went 1 ? flips and extended out straight with a slight arch in my back. Then, smack! The water felt like shards of glass ripping through my skin as I lay on top of the water…no, I can’t do this dive.I search for my coach, Michele, seated amongst the judges. An apologetic expression floods her face. She mouths these words: “I’m sorry. You don’t have to do this.
Don’t throw it—just balk.”My blurry eyes pour drops of water down my dry face.“…I’m sorry rules are rules…”the announcer says once more.I didn’t drive six hours to be disqualified on the first dive.“…you can do this dive.”No, I can’t. You don’t understand.
The head judged disappears into his seat. I take a deep breath and look behind me to see all 46 competitors cheering me on. I glance to the audience to see my mother’s face twisted in confusion.My eyes fall back to the water. Okay. I have to do this. I’m not giving up.
I wipe my eyes and start walking. Whatever you do, don’t balk. Just hold on and chuck the dive. I reach the end of the board and peer towards the water. I feel myself in the air. My eyes squeeze shut as I tuck up into a ball. Don’t let go.
Don’t let go. Here! Wait, NO! Don’t let go. My eyes peak at the water below. My legs extend as I slice through the water. I’m alive, or at least I’m not in pain. As I break the surface, every judge stands and cheers. The head judge pumps his fist and gives another judge a high-five.
As I drag my shaking body from the water, I am met by my teammate Claire.“Good job! But, why did you chuck the dive? Michele said you could just balk.”“I knew I didn’t want to fail without even trying.”I know why I went. I went because of who I am. I don’t let the possibility of failing stop me from experiencing something new—no matter how terrified or unprepared I feel. When an unexpected circumstance presents itself, I do not balk.
I am a chucker.