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