Hurdle failure connects to life lessons

My heart pounded and my legs gave out. I could not do it anymore. I would not be able to pass the fitness test in my 7th grade PE class. I would get a C this cycle and just accept it. My mile time was too low for me to beat.

My coach watched me from across the track. He cheered me on and shouted “Go, Zaid!” and “You are almost done!” I then sprinted full way, closing my eyes and hoping to god I would finish before the stitch on the right side of my stomach would overcome me. I heard the sound of my classmate’s shouts getting closer and closer. I ran passed the finish line with a ferocity I did not know was in me while my coach announced my time. “I DID IT,” I yelled. “I PASSED!”

I turned towards the coach, who walked toward me with his hand in the air. I gave him a high five, sweat on my face while I heavily breathed. I lopsidedly walked to the water fountains and pressed on the bars, borken, of course. I decided to go to the benches and sit down and enjoyed the air that swept across my face as a supplement to the lack of water in my body. It was free play day.  Our coach would let us do whatever we wanted to outside. I watched my other classmates run around the track and race one another to see who was fastest. But I did not want to move at all. My legs felt like the cherry flavored jelly my grandma always made when she came home from Pakistan.

But then, from the corner of my eye, I saw my classmates starting to pull something out. I saw the hurdles that they used in track practice. I was in fact part of the track team and did the 100 and 300 meter hurdle events. I loved the feeling of being in a rhythmic pattern, the seemingly effortless motion athletes used to jumped over them inspired me to participate in the event. I was not great at them, but I did not care.

I walked toward the area where the hurdles were and waited in line to jump them. I watched as others took their turn and noticed something wrong. The last hurdle seemed out of place, but I did not think much of it. “It is probably only a little to the right or something,” I murmured.

After the person in front of me was done, I started to run towards the first hurdle. I closed my eyes as I got into the rhythm and jumped the first three hurdles successfully, flaunting my skills to the others watching. As I closed my eyes and waited for the last one, I realized that the hurdle was too far off. It was not in rhythm. I opened my eyes and realized it was right in front of me, and I instinctively jumped. As I jumped, I also realize the hurdle was placed too high and was rotated. I immediately regretted my decision but it was too late. I got stuck on top of the hurdle and hit the bar really hard with my leg. I screamed in pain as the hurdle and I fell to the ground with a boom.

Right when I crashed, the wind was knocked out of me and my right arm took the brunt of the fall.

I rolled back and forth on the track floor in pain. I looked up and saw my fellow classmates all around me. They tried helping me up, but I shook my head. I still could not properly breathe and did not want to move my right arm. The bell rang and everyone started to head back to the locker room.. I tried calling out to them, tears running down my cheeks, but I could not talk loud enough. It was too late. In minutes, the only noise I could hear were the sprinklers that turned on to water the grass. I laid still on the ground, pain running through my body. I felt multiple cuts on my legs, a swollen arm, a scratch on my face and numbness where the hurdle hit. I forced myself to get up and walk back to the locker rooms. The other students were changing back into uniform. I limped to my locker and gathered my binders. I decided I was not going to take the French quiz anymore and headed towards the nurse, still in my gym uniform.

The water in my eyes ran down my cheeks as I walked. I hoped the tears would somehow heal the cut on my face. I finally reached the nurse’s office, feeling as if I would pass out. They placed a makeshift cast on my arm and called my mom, as they comforted me with their kind words. The snacks they offered helped too.

I decided not to continue jumping hurdles in 8th grade, and still have not done so to this day.  I am still conquering the hurdles in life though, with my hard work and determination.