You would think after a late-night 5-hour bus ride back to Amherst I would want to crawl into my bed with my shoes on, but I think it was that silly frozen mocha drink I had before we left that kept my brain going until about 3am last night. For a little while my roommate and I recapped and swapped stories from the meet, but then I completely lost track of what we were talking about and fell silent. The budding psychology major she is (and I’m sure I’m the perfect subject for observation) she watched me think for a little bit until she chimed in her usual way, “So what ya thinkin’ about?”
“It just goes to show you how much can change in a year.”
I had been thinking about it all day. This time last year I started making some big decisions. It was weird to be making a trip to the Larry Ellis Invitational a year later, staying in the same hotel, but on a different team. Last year at this meet I was talking to Coach Jackson about transferring (despite a little incident the first night), competing against my teammates instead of with them, and showing up by myself carrying in two poles just hoping to clear opening height. The night before was spent quietly dreading spending the night with teammates I wasn’t close with, avoiding an argument about beds/temperature of the room/lights on or off/etc, and crying home to mom and dad because of doubts I had. I felt alone.
Here I was a year later, almost two seasons completed with that team I was talking to, joking with my teammates and coach, carrying in a big bag of poles and confidently knowing I could clear opening height and had a pretty good shot at clearing the next one. The night before was spent eating dinner huddled around the coffee table chatting about guys/school/vaulting/gossip with my fellow vaulters. We laughed until we had tears in our eyes and our faces hurt. During the meet they loudly cheered me on and helped me out when Coach Jackson wasn’t around. We spent the two days together as a nice little family.
I did end up clearing opening height of 10’10″, the highest I have ever come into a meet, and had a little diva moment when I didn’t clear the next height at 11’6″ like I had hoped. I had to take about 10-15 minutes to keep dumb stupid tears from falling (which I had no idea where they came from) and pull myself together. In my mind I was flailing and I nervously sipped Gatorade to hide my face. I struggled to piece together something, but I told myself to focus. Focus on the positives. After finally recognizing this is my only second meet back and how nice it felt to be competing at all, it was much easier to find the rest of the positives. Look how far you’ve come. Look how happy you are. Look who you’re here with. Look how much has changed in just one year. And guess what, you’ve still got one more after this. :-)