This entry is part [part not set] of 107 in the series This I Believe
Youth Voices
Youth Voices
Taking Risks

Without hesitation, I believe that it is better to live life when risks are taken. The act of going outside the box, stretching your comfort zone, and exposing yourself to things you are uncertain about helps you. By taking risks, we realize what our full potential actually is. Gymnastics is a sport that is full of risk taking. Sprained ankles, broken bones and pulled muscles are all common within the sport. My teammates and I always heard of broken bones that lead to death, and being paralyzed resulting from falling from the high bar, or landing on your neck after a vault. For many people, gymnastics is not a good sport and a definite out for them because they do not want to take the chances of having a life changing injury.

For me, gymnastics was my sport. I welcomed the risks that were being thrown at me. People around me would tell me and even my parents that they were crazy for putting me in a sport with such danger. But my parents would always respond on how being in the gym for 24 hours a week was a life lesson for me. It taught me to acknowledge dangers of doing certain skills, gauge capabilities on what I could and couldn’t do, that working hard will reward you in the long run, and taking risks in the right way and working through tough times with help you overcome many fears in your life.

It’s a fact that I did sprain my ankles multiple times, I did break bones, and I did pull muscles. I had mental blocks on a daily basis that kept me from doing certain things. There was a certain point in my career that I refused to flip backward on the beam. During this time I was attempting to transition from level 8 to level 9 and if I didn’t figure out a way to execute these skills on the balance beam I would be held at the same level for the second year in a row. I was told by my coach that ‘if I didn’t take the risk and do the skills then I am risking my chances of moving up a level.’ When she first said that I didn’t really pay attention, but that night it really sunk in. If I don’t take a chance of performing these skills I will be stuck behind. This really made me realize what risk taking is about.

The more risks you take, the more you learn about yourself, after this, I had so much more confidence within myself. I wouldn’t trade the lessons I learned or the skills I acquired by taking the risks I did in the sport for the world. I am grateful for the athleticism, mindset, lessons, and life skills gymnastics presented to me. It is better to take risks, and figure out what our strengths and weaknesses are early so that later in life we are not hiding behind our fears, and wondering how life would be changed if you had done something differently. Instead, take risks, find them early, and live a fearless successful life.

Photo by Erin Costa

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October 27, 2017 8:13 pm

Dear Emily,
I’m very interested in what you have to say about taking risks because risks make us who we are and if we don’t perform them, we’ll be stuck in the same version of ourselves for our entire lives. I like when you said,”‘if I didn’t take the risk and do the skills then I am risking my chances of moving up a level.’” This quote doesn’t have to just relate to gymnastics. It can relate to anyone, anywhere.If you don’t take the risk and complete the skills for what you want to succeed, you are risking the chances of you moving up a level in life. Without that risk, we aren’t anything. Without risk, there is no fear and no anxiety, but sometimes we need that to live and survive in the real world.

May 23, 2017 1:22 am

Hi Emily!
Great post! While reading your post, I could truly see that you were really passionate about gymnastics. It’s great to see how much a sport has changed your life and what positive effects it has caused. Risk-taking is definitely that a lot of people struggle with, including myself! I think it’s just the major fear of “something could go wrong”. However, I don’t think you can truly “live” life without taking risks!

May 10, 2017 2:58 pm

Dear author,
I completly agree with you because from my time in my last school, many students thought gymnastics was easy or it didn’t take any strength. Those opinions are idiotic but anyways, risks are a very important part of gymnastics like you said. In my gym I have to stretch out of my comfort zone and land on my head a couple times. As I am also a volunteer gymnastics coach I have to make sure my girls don’t get hurt and even though they want to go to the next skill after they just got one skill, I have to hold them back sometimes. This could be for their form or because they should master the other skills first or get stronger. One day they can take the risks, but not just yet. My friend was doing a skill and hurt her back. Now she cannot compete in the next comp and even though she wants to it needs to heal. My coach was telling us how when he was my age and he was doing a layout he pulled his back and suffered a career ending loss. I am in the same position as many gymnasts when it comes to skills. Though not a super important skill, I am very close to my ariel, and I can do it, but my coaches say that i have a mind block. Thank you for writing, I really related to you and i hope now that you are in level 9 or training elite.

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