A Lesson in Flying

Describe a circumstance, obstacle or conflict in your life, and the skills and resources you used to resolve it. Did it change you? If so, how?


They call it free falling for a reason. There’s something liberating that comes with taking the plunge, but that sense of freedom didn’t come easily for me.

My sophomore year of high school, I joined the Durango High School’s dive team. Our renegade group consisted of two ex-gymnasts, a freestyle skier, my sister, and me. With no prior experience, I dove head first into an entirely new sport. As the rest of my team soared to high places and conquered an assortment of optional dives, I continually struggled to overcome even the most basic tricks. One dive in particular--the reverse dive-- struck white-hot fear in my heart. Panic gripped me tight and didn’t let go. Without that dive, I was stuck. I couldn’t progress, and I quickly fell behind the rest of my team.

Practice after practice, I grew increasingly frustrated. My heart grew weary with failure and disappointment, even though my coach encouraged me in every way he could. He offered incentives, repeatedly went over the mechanics with me; nothing worked. Coach Mark could see I was breaking down. One day at practice he pulled me aside. Waiting to hear the same old lecture, I was surprised when at first he said nothing. No words of wisdom were uttered. Instead, he simply...

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