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Photo ofVidhi Soni

Gymnastics is an underrated sport that takes a tremendous amount of energy, confidence, flexibility, and balance. Ever since I was eight, I always wanted to compete in high school gymnastics. As a little girl  taking classes, I knew that I wanted to pursue my passion. Now that the time has come, I’m too hesitant to perform in front of people because I overthink whether I’m good enough and assume others think I am a bad athlete. Even though I try my best and am able to do my routine during practice, I still worry about being able to perform. This is the reason that I tend to over- think and my mentality turns into overwhelming negativity when I perform a skill or routine.  My passion began at Viking Gymnastics when I was a clueless child just try- ing to have some fun on the trampoline. I was intimidated by the other girls because I happened to be the only Indian in that class. Gymnastics has never seemed to be that common amongst Indians. I tried to ignore it, but the feeling of being different from everyone else didn’t go away. I thought I was not good enough because I was the one who stood out since I was not white. I felt insecure about myself because I was an outsider ofter discluded from the other girls who never wanted to be my partner. I’m proud to be Indian, but I would’ve felt more comfortable to see more people that were like me competing in the sport. As I continued to progress over the next couple of years, my skills improved and I became a better athlete.  When I began high school and tryouts were right around the corner, I knew I had to give it my all so it would be possible to pursue my dream of competing. As tryouts were taking place, we heard the news that all the freshmen made the team. Surprisingly, my coach asked if I was willing to compete in all four events. As soon as he asked, I started working nonstop on my routines for the events. I spent time outside of school practicing my skills and choreographing my routines. I was most fearful of competing in front of people alone because I am usually so used to competing in a group. With all the attention on me and people watching every little thing, I was extremely uncomfortable.  The day of the first competition I was freaking out, and the event that scared me the most was the floor. I was too intimidated by everyone else’s routines. The school we competed against had won 5th in the state last year which intimidated everyone. Nevertheless, it was my time to shine and I had to prove to everyone that Indians are capable of so much more. As I started to show my routine to the judge, I was shaking and frightened that I was going to mess something up. As my routine came to an end, I was extremely relieved that it was over because I had improvised half of my routine. I had to improvise because I forgot parts of what I prepared due to my anxiety. At the end of the day, the score didn’t matter as much because it was about completing the performance and doing my best. Even if I did mess up, I realized it wasn’t going to be my last competition. There are going to be other opportunities to improve and enhance my skills. 

© Vidhi Soni. All rights reserved. If you are interested in quoting this story, contact the national team through this website and we can put you in touch with the young person’s teacher.