A Slow Start

Write about a time you failed at something

She runs so gracefully, her arms swinging back and forth, her legs flying, barely even touching the ground as she laps the girl in front of her. I am that girl—not the graceful one but the slow one who runs like a beanbag chair, hunched over and shuffling across the gravel, getting passed by the athletic ones. That pretty much sums up my freshman year of cross-country—a time when I could not even make it from the entrance of the school to the end of the parking lot.

During the summer going into high school, I thought I would branch out and join the cross-country team, craving that team-togetherness of high school sports without the required coordination of other activities like soccer or field hockey. My thinking was that cross-country would be relatively simple—run fast and don't fall. No balls, or nets, or sticks to confuse me or reveal my incompetency. The first day, I laced up my worn out P.E. sneakers and tied my hair tightly with not one but two hair ties. As the team took off, their feet rhythmically tapping the pavement, I followed suit, eager to prove myself to these strangers—an intimidating collection of high school girls whose maturity radiated from their brace-less faces. For the first seven and a half seconds, my...

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