Freshman year of high school is often seen as one of the scariest times of a teen's life. Something that tends to make this time even scarier is failure or a major disappointment. For some this failure comes in the form of losing an election or making the junior varsity cheerleading team. For me, this disappointment and feeling of failure came when I did not make my high school's dance team.
As soon as I entered middle school I knew that I wanted to be one of the girls in a sparkly top dancing on the sidelines on every football Friday night throughout the fall. I was fully aware that in order to achieve this dream I would have to spend hours both in and out of the studio working. I am a determined girl, and I was dead set on making this team. If you asked any of my close friends or family what I spent my eighth grade year doing, they would answer with one word -- DANCING. At that point in my life I was spending around 22 hours a week dancing as an apprentice to a contemporary dance company that I hoped to eventually become a member of. I began to supplement my current training with classes at a jazz competition studio to familiarize myself with the 'team' style.
In the final two months before the tryouts began I kicked my training into overdrive. I was having almost daily private lessons at both an all star cheer gym (to improve my jumps) and a dance studio. I also took especially good care of myself, and made sure I was well conditioned to prevent injury.
The week of tryouts had finally arrived, and I was an eager freshman ready to get the week over with. On all the days of tryouts I danced for hours each day in an effort to perfect the routine. When the actual tryout day finally rolled around I felt well prepared. I was nervous and excited as well. I was the eleventh dancer to audition. I walked in ready to demonstrate my sky high leaps, and insane flexibility. I had to show the judges all of the required technical elements, and perform a brief routine. When I was done dancing I felt so great about my performance.
As soon as the tryouts were completed I headed home to anxiously await the fateful phone call that would determine if I would spend football Friday nights during freshman year in the student section or on the track. It had been announced prior to the tryouts that if you were being offered a spot on the team you would receive a call no later than 7:00 p.m. As I waited I received three texts from my closest friends that also tried out for the team. All of these texts were some form of 'I made it!!!,' and I was the only one who hadn't received a call. I was pretty calm until the clock hit 7:01 and I realized that I had not made the elusive dance team.
The weeks and days that followed were filled with tears, hugs and lots of ice cream. It would be an understatement to say I was devastated. Dancing was who I was, and I didn't know anything different. All of my close friends were either a member of the cheerleading team or the dance team. My high school dream was crushed. There were many elements that went into the tryout that I felt were unfair, but the fact of the matter was that I couldn't do anything about others' actions. The only thing that was still in my control was the way that I reacted to the circumstances I was put in. When hit with this type of disappointment, some people would give up. I didn't give up, and I was determined to become a member of the dance team.
For the next year I worked harder than I ever had before. I danced over 26 hours a week total, and began taking privates from a collegiate level dance team coach. Throughout the next year I had many successes with dancing. I was named a company member of the contemporary company I had been an apprentice to for only two years, and I made an elite level competition team. I was feeling on top of my game, and my dancing had improved exponentially since the tryouts the year before. The week of tryouts for my sophomore year quickly approached and I felt ready to overcome my fears and have an extremely strong tryout. That was exactly what I did on the tryout day. I firmly believe that on that day I danced the best hip hop I ever had in my entire life. It seems as though that even the second time around, my absolute best simply wasn't enough.
It may seem as though this story doesn't have a happy ending, but I promise it does. I have gained more knowledge from the past two years than I ever could if I made the team. I learned that life isn't always fair. I also learned that each failure isn't final, and every time that I feel like I've been knocked down its really just a step to a bigger and better success.
Yes, I didn't make the dance team and yes, the hurt from not making it will likely linger for most of my high school career, but I know that I must have far greater things in store for me than making a high school dance team. Whenever it seems as if the failure at hand is final I try to remember this quote from Napoleon Hill: "Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed on an equal or greater benefit."