The Dolympic Games - Part 4 - Finale
6 weeks in a cast.
That’s what the doctors said at the Hospital. I had to wear a stiff, chunky cast on my leg for almost two months. This was not good news for me, and I felt devastated as Coach pushed me along the Hospital hallway in a berry colored wheelchair. My ankle had split half way up to my leg, and oh, the pain! It was miserable.
“McKenna, Nurse Adrianna said you could either chose to use crutches or a wheel chair for the time you wore your cast. What would you like to do, sweetie?”
“Um, I’ll just uh… use the crutches.” I croaked. My throat felt tight and dry, and I bit my lip to fight back tears.
Kimi helped me get up and Coach Cathy grabbed the crutches. Resting my arms on the handles, I lifted my foot and tried hobbling around. While it wasn’t very enjoyable, at least I’d get some exercise. Coach and Kimi walked in caution as we left the building, ready to catch me if I stumbled or tripped.
When we reached the car, I carefully sat down in the front seat. “Thank you.” I mumbled hoarsely. Coach smiled sympathetically. She took my crutches and put them in the back, and then we drove back to the Olympic Stadium so I could get my things. I hurried to pack up everything I had brought, and when I was sure no one was looking, I snuck back to the lounge. The room was empty, dark, and lonely- not a person was in sight.
With a defeated sigh, I put my crutches down and sunk into the comfy chair. I couldn’t believe this had happened. Everything I had worked so hard for seemed to shatter right along with my leg. I’m sure that Rachel Matthews is enjoying her medal right now- strutting around proudly, showing it off. I was let down, and I’m sure my sisters were feeling disappointed, too. They were expecting me to bring home a medal and be a hero, but because of what I did trying to beat the other gymnast, I couldn’t.
I squeezed my eyes shut, trying not to cry. A tear escaped and ran down my cheek, then a few more. As I sobbed quietly, I didn’t notice the person who had mysteriously entered the room.
“I’m so sorry…” She murmured quietly.
I turned to face my friend. “It’s alright, Kimi. You didn’t do any-“
I stopped mid-sentence. The girl in the chair was not my sweet and loyal pal from China. No, it was Rachel Matthews, the very same one who I had tried so vigorously to beat in the competition.
“Rachel?” I gazed in wonder at her. Around her neck was a gold medal, but she didn’t seem to care at that moment. “W- what are you doing here?”
Rachel grabbed a tissue from a box on a small table and kindly offered it to me. “I heard that you broke your leg, and being a gymnast and all, I kinda know how you feel.”
I wiped my eyes and nose. At first I didn’t understand, but then it dawned on me. “You’ve broke your leg before, too?”
Rachel let out a giggle. “I sure have. You know, this isn’t my first time at the Dolympics.”
“Nope.” Rachel said, shaking her head. “I was invited to come 4 years ago at the last Dolympics. I was so determined to get in there, give it my all, win and be a champion.” Rachel waved her fist passionately as she spoke. Her face quickly changed though, and her voice became solemn and even shy as she went on. “I was younger back then, and wanted to show off and make everyone think I was so good for my age. Right before I dismounted, I decided to do a harder move; one that I wasn’t ready for. Turns out, I ended up braking my ankle all the way up to my knee. I didn’t think I’d ever be able to compete again… ”
Rachel stared off into space, and I knew she was remembering a horrible moment.
Suddenly, I felt ashamed of myself. I reached over and touched her hand. “Rachel, I’m sorry. I thought my injury was bad, but that… that’s just terrible.”
Rachel quickly glanced up at me and smiled. “It’s no big deal. In fact, that day, I learned one of the most important lessons that I could ever know.”
I leaned a little closer, eager to hear.
“I had a choice to make. Was I going to sit there and mope around, complain, and tell myself I wasn’t good enough? Or was I going to acknowledge my mistake, try harder, and keep working towards my goals- even though there may be tough times along the way? So I didn’t earn a medal, but is winning and fame really everything? No, and I decided right then and there that I wouldn’t stop working to make my dreams and goals come true. I wasn’t going to quit. With lots of help and recovery, I finally was able to compete again. And here I am.” Rachel gestured at herself.
Rachel looked me straight in the eye as she finished. “There are always going to be athletes that are stronger, faster, and better than you, McKenna. But no matter what, don’t let that define who you are. Keep working, and one day it will all pay off. You’ll see, I promise.”
All of a sudden, I felt different about everything that had happened. What Rachel had said was right. It’s not right to complain, and it’s not right to give up. And while it’s not how I thought my trip to Rio and the Dolympics would be like, I’m going to chose to learn from my accidents and mistakes. My view of Rachel changed too. She wasn’t prideful and self-centered like I thought. She was kind and loving. She deserved to be respected and honored.
I grabbed my crutches and wobbled over to her, whispering in her ear my appreciation. “Thank you, Rachel, for teaching me something I’ll never forget. Thank you so much."
Rachel beamed. “Anytime.”
"McKenna, 10 minutes!” Coach yelled from inside the airport doors.
Today, I was going home.
It seemed just like yesterday I had arrived in Rio, but I was excited to see my sisters and tell them all about adventures I had at the Dolympics.
“I guess this means goodbye.” Kimi said sadly, shuffling her feet.
“We’ll miss you McKenna. I wish you could stay longer.” Rachel added softly.
Kimi and Rachel pulled me into a gentle group hug, be careful of my cast. “I’ll miss you guys too, but I think it’s time for me to go home. I’m ready to see my family.” I smiled just thinking about my sisters, my house, Grace’s lasagna… I missed it all too much.
“Hey, maybe we’ll see each other again sometime. There’s always the next Dolympics…” Rachel said, looking on the bright side. We all laughed.
“Maybe some day, Rachel. But for now, I’ve got to get going. Bye, girls!” I waved happily as I walked away.
My flight was very short, or at least it seemed very short. Completely exhausted, I slept most of the way. When Coach woke me up, I was back in the USA. We left the airport and made it to the house late that afternoon. I watched with anticipation as we drove down the street of our neighborhood. We were almost there! I could barely see the roof of my house, but I was getting more and more excited each time I saw it peeking above the treetops.
After what seemed like forever, Coach finally exclaimed, “Here we are! You’re home McKenna!”
I squealed happily. Pulling my crutches and bags out the car door, I walked as fast as I could.
“Do you need any help McKenna?” Coach called after me.
I stopped and turned to her with a wide grin spread across my face. “I think I’ve got it.”
Coach nodded and gave a thumbs up. Then she drove away.
I’m home, I’m home, I’m home! I thought to myself in delight. I had been waiting for this all day. I made my way up to the front door and turned the knob. The hallway was unusually dark and quiet-
SURPRISE!!! WELCOME HOME MCKENNA!
My sisters shouted in glee.
I dropped everything and hopped to their outstretched arms. “I’m so glad to be home!”
“And we’re glad that you’re back! Things were so different without you.” Grace said.
Everyone started talking at once.
“What was Rio like?”
“Did you meet Gabby Dollglaus?”
“Was it fun?”
“How was your flight?”
“Ya’ll don’t squish McKenna! We don’t want to hurt her leg.” Lanie ordered firmly, handing me my crutches as the rest of the girls backed off and gave me some space. “I’m ok, really. It’s just nice to be back.”
“You can say that again!” Millie joked. “But seriously, everyone missed you terribly.”
“We have a surprise for you.” Kit and Ruthie said in unison. “Close your eyes, and don’t peek!” I felt something smooth being laid in my hands. “Alright, you can open them now!”
I looked down to find a homemade medal made from cardboard and ribbon. “You guys are so thoughtful! Thank you, I love it!” I fastened the ribbon around my neck and smiled proudly.
Sierra came up and put her arm around my shoulder. “McKenna, we all have to say, you did a pretty fantastic job. Your routine was awesome!”
"You liked it?" I asked in astonishment.
Sierra looked puzzled. “Of course we did. Why wouldn’t we?”
“I messed up…”
“McKenna, you did amazing. It takes a lot of courage to stand up and do something like that. I’m proud of you, and so is everyone else.”
“We all are!” Maryellen added. My sisters began to cheer and clap wildly.
I felt so special and loved. My sisters would always be there for me, and I was so grateful to have a family like them.
I may have not brought home a medal, and I may have not returned a champion, but I knew in my heart that this… was definitely what winning felt like.
And that is the end of The Dolympic Games! I hope everyone enjoyed reading about McKenna's adventure, and who knows? Maybe she'll be back again at the next Dolympics! ;) Thank you for reading!
-American Girl Doll Crafter