The Dolympic Games - Part 3
With a small jerk, the plane stopped and Chloe sweetly wished everyone a nice day and thanked them for flying with American Girl Airlines. Then I walked out into the balmy, tropical air of Brazil. And who was there waiting for me, but Coach Cathy herself!
“Hey there, Miss McKenna!” Coach said in her loud, happy voice. “Ready for the big day?”
“Yep!” I smiled. While I was ready, I felt that feeling again, like butterflies that flew around in my stomach. I didn’t know why I was so nervous! This was supposed to be a great experience- something I’d never forget for as long as I lived. It was not something to worry over.
Coach drove us to the Dolympics Stadium, where the gymnastics event was already set up for the busy day ahead. She informed me that I would be performing at 10:00, which meant I had a few hours to wait.
I decided to head back to the lounge room where some of the other gymnasts where hanging out or getting ready before their routine. The room was unusually empty- I suspected that most of the other gymnasts were either performing or getting dressed. There was an empty seat next to a quiet asian girl who kept mumbling and shuffling awkwardly. She seemed nervous… just like me.
Maybe I should go talk to her. If I could share with her that I'm anxious too, then we both might not feel as bad.
I put on my most friendliest face and bravely marched over to the timid girl. She glanced over shyly as I sat down beside her. “Hi! I’m McKenna Brooks.”
“Um, hello. I am Kimi.” She answered perfect English.
“This is my first time competing in the Dolympics. I’m kinda nervous.” I said, trying to start a conversation. Kimi’s face flooded with understanding as she smiled warmly and softly exclaimed,
“Me too! It is my first time as well, and I’m a little scared.” Her eyes quickly went back down to her feet.
“Where are you from?” I asked kindly.
“China.” Kimi’s eyes held a faraway gaze when she talked of her homeland. “Where are you from?”
“The United States of America.”
“America!” Kimi perked up. “I have always wanted to visit there! That is why I have been studying English.”
Immediately I began to fill Kimi in with all the wonderful facts and details of my country, and in return she told me everything about China. After talking for a while, Kimi looked extremely comfortable, and I knew in my heart that I had made the right choice to come and sit with her. I already felt as if I had known her my whole life as we laughed and chatted together.
“McKenna!” Someone shouted over the noise. “McKenna, where are you?” It was Coach Cathy, running around the room searching for me. “I’m right here!” I shouted back, standing to my feet. “Is something wrong?”
“It’s 9:15! You need to hurry and get dressed- you’ll be on in 45 minutes!” She said frantically.
“45 minutes? Boy, do I need to get moving!” I jumped to my feet "I gotta go Kimi. Thank you for talking with me.”
Kimi grabbed my hand just before I started to leave the room. “No, McKenna.” She said with a sparkle in her eye. “Thank you. I feel so much better now.”
“She’s on, She’s on, She’s on!” Millie cried, bouncing up and down. “Ooh! C’mon everyone! It’s McKenna!” Lanie yelled. All of the girls gathered around the TV. “There she is!” The room went wild with cheers and screams as soon as they saw their very own sister smile and wave as she walked onto the screen. That was me, and even though I couldn’t see them, I knew that my family would cheering me on the whole way.
The announcer boldly declared the gymnast coming up. “McKenna Brooks, next on floor routine!”
“Okay, McKenna you can do this.” Coach whispered, wrapping her arms tightly around me in an encouraging hug. “Go get ‘em”
“Thanks Coach!” I yelled, running out into the spotlight and finding my place on the mats. I smiled and waved. The stadium filled with noise- everyone chanting, “USA! USA!” As I stood there, my face lit with excitement, I looked around the stadium with wide eyes. So many people had traveled all the way across the country just to see me, and I decided right then and there that I wasn’t going to let them down.
Once the crowd was finally calm, the music started. I twirled and leaped; my feet sweeping gracefully across the floor as I went. Oddly enough, the time seemed to past quickly and before I knew it, I was finished with my floor routine.
Joining coach back on the sidelines, we watched the first gymnast on the beam, Rachel Matthews. She was good. Her performance was spotless, and by the end, I was stunned. It was going to be hard to compete with that, but I could do it.
The announcer called my name again, and I confidently walked up onto the beam. Pointing my toes and hands in front of me, I imagined myself in the gym- practicing just like I had done so many times before. I closed my eyes and quickly recited one of my favorite verses, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Then I began. My feet lead the way as I danced and flipped flawlessly across the beam. I focused hard on making each move perfect. Everything was silent, and I knew all eyes were on me as I finally reached the end of my routine. I noticed sweat running down my face and felt heart pounding inside my chest. This was it. I had to do this right, or I wouldn’t win. Running swiftly towards the end of the beam, I launched into the air with all of my strength.
Suddenly, my right foot slipped when I dismounted. I was thrown off balance and couldn’t complete the handspring properly. I felt myself crashing to the ground, and CRACK. A shattering ache went throughout my leg.
“McKenna, McKenna!” Someone yelled. Coach Cathy was immediately by my side, her face filled with concern. “Are you alright? Where does it hurt?"
“I… I think I- OWW!” I moaned, grasping my leg in pain. The crowd buzzed with worry.
Kimi quickly ran over to see if any assistance or help was needed. “McKenna, are you okay? That was a big fall.”
I took a deep, shaky, breath. Be brave. I told myself.
“I don’t know.” I answered calmly as I could, even though on the inside I was trembling with fear. “Something is wrong, though.”
"We need to get McKenna to the Hospital.” Coach said.
Kimi squeezed my hand and looked into my eyes sympathetically. “Everything will be fine.” Coach and Kimi gently helped me up on my other foot, and to my surprise, the crowd started clapping!
“Why are they cheering for me?” I asked Kimi in bewilderment. Embarrassed, I stared down at the ground. “I… I thought I let them down.”
Kimi smiled. “They think you’re brave.” She said proudly. “And I do too.”
I threw my arms around Kimi in a grateful hug. Then we left.
Stay tuned! The finale of The Dolympic Games is coming soon! :)
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