I just could not do it again. The ridiculously short jump, seen my long legs, put me into great pain. I tried to neither show my pain, nor my great embarrassment. Just before I had been so sure to make it into the long-jumping squad.

What was happening to me?

It was the beginning of spring, I was 14 years old and I was keen to become a good element of my school’s track and field team.

Just before spring break the track season opened at my middle school. There were no meets that week, but we were supposed to find the disciplines that we would compete in.We had tryouts. Not for everything, but for everything that was popular. As I was one of the tallest girls in my year (and rather proud of my long legs), I was interested in the disciplines including jumping (to put those legs to profit). So I gave high-jump and long-jump a shot.

All of the tall and pretty girls, who seemed to be good in all classes, tried out for high-jump, I felt out of my league. The coach explained to us how to run, jump over the bar, and then let us fall onto the mat. Scared of falling (due to broken bones in the past), I was feeling less and less comfortable. After a short warmup it was time for the trial. I ran up to the bar and could not get my body up, it was heavy, too heavy for me. It was as if my body had turned into a big and unhandy bag of potatoes. Being scared of falling did not help and not being able to command my legs helped even less.

I moved on to the sandpit for the long-jump tryout. There I felt more comfortable. One of my friends was interested in long jump too, and she was about a head smaller, which helped me regain my confidence. Sprinting up to the pit I knew that I would make the team.

I landed in great pain.

My shin-bones were aching, every step that I took on the sand made me want to cry out loud in pain. Doing my best not to show that I was in pain, I went on with my two other jumps. Between taking off at the wrong moment and not going far enough, my results were definitely far from great. Not only was I in pain, I also felt embarrassed about not making into the long-jump team either. My friend made it into the team without a problem, and I think that she was a good asset for the team.

The following day it was spring break, my mother took the initiative to travel down to Cape May. She could not really believe that her daughter had not made it into one of the jumping disciplines, as she herself had been passionate about and very good at track and field in her youth. What in the world had gone wrong with her daughter?

It got even worse. In Cape May we went for long walks on the beach, it was too cold to go swimming, but we did dip our feet in the icy water. These walks were a torture for me. Every time I put one of my feet on the sand a piercing pain shot trough my tibia. I felt so bad, I just wanted to spend all my vacation sitting around in the lovely Victorian style Bed ‘n Breakfast, just to not feel any pain. But instead, I joined my mother and sister on long walks on the beach, which they enjoyed by far more than I did. My mother could not understand what I was going through, she was always worried about me being too inactive physically.

To everyone’s relief, once we were back home, everything started getting better.

I was definitely a lot taller now…

These pains I had experienced were growing pains. It was my last real growth spurt, and the only one that I remember, because it hurt.


Written by Solveig Werner

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