What would you say is your greatest talent or skill? How have you developed and demonstrated that talent over time?
My knees and shins are coated with a layer of damp sand as I roll out of the pit. Standing up, I can feel my heart banging in my chest, the blood pulsating loudly in my head. Gingerly, I put pressure on my right foot and feel the familiar shock of pain in my ankle. Another bad landing. The woman behind me announces: “Thirty two, four!” and I grin; at least the jump was good. I broke my record by four inches.
In a few minutes, my name will be called again, but in the meantime, I hobble back to grass to stretch. The wet sand is dense and hurts my feet, but the pain comes with being a triple jumper. The event requires you to spring off one foot and land on the same one, putting high pressure on one side of your lower body, especially your dominant ankle and knee.
Triple jump isn’t a very popular event; nobody goes to a track meet to watch the pits. Still, I jump. I love the feeling of flying through the air too much to quit. So for three years, I have continued to run down the strip of track and leap into the pit of sand, despite the growing jolts of pain in my right ankle. The pride I feel when my numbers increase overrides the discomfort.
When I hear my name called again, I shift my weight to my right leg, testing the amount of pressure I can handle. My ankle isn’t better, but I’m ready. Something as trivial as a little pain won’t stop me. If anything, the challenge spurs me on–the harder it gets, the harder I push back. I crave the feeling of accomplishment, and I’ll do anything to get it. Whether it’s on the track or in the classroom, I persevere. Ignoring my throbbing ankle, I walk to my mark on the runway. I take a deep breath, run down the track, and jump.