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Meet Patel
10/01/18
Block 1
The Keychain

Meet had played many sports long before swimming. First, he started off with football, but after his parents realized how dangerous the game was for young Meet, they made him quit. Then came basketball, Meet loved basketball. However, he knew that he would never be as good as the other kids in his grade, so he quit. Then came swimming the answer to Meet’s sports endeavor. Swimming was a sport that Meet fell in love with after watching Michael Phelps on TV during the Olympics.
Meet was about to dip his toes in the cold water. His nerves rose up and spread like fire throughout his body. The crowd watched on as Meet was about to swim the hundred-meter freestyle. All the butterflies clashed inside Meet’s stomach. There was noise all over the place—the splash of water, talking, yelling, whistling, cheering.It was going to be Meet’s first swim meet. Most people at a swim meet would need a pair a of googles and their swimsuit, but Meet was different. Meet carried a small keychain from his family, that he received from a visit in India. The keychain was made out of a special type of wood with Meet’s name engraved on the back. Although it looked like an ordinary keychain on the outside, it was much more. The keychain was a symbol for Meet. It carried the expectations, it carried the hope, it carried the aspirations, it carried the fears of a young boy at his first swim meet. He had gone through grueling practices, filled with aching joints from the workouts and the longer he stood there, talking to his fellow swimmers, the worse his anxiety became, as the air was filled with the harsh cacophony of whistles blown by different coaches, an also filled with the exhausting sleepiness that arose after such difficult practices. He got closer and closer to the water’s edge as he felt the water calling to him, “You cannot do it.” He grasped for his chain, but it was not there.

He felt like he needed to do something. He felt robbed. He looked around like a hawk, shocked, and was even more shocked when he saw his same keychain dangling around the neck of someone else. Shocked, he ran out of the stands to confront the guy. The guy surely looked much older, there was no way he was a middle schooler. Meet walked up to the guy to confront him when he realized, the guy had a similar chain, but it was indeed, not his. Losing the keychain for Meet was like losing a part of his identity. Although the chain seemed to be a goner, he was still carrying his drawstring Adidas backpack, filled with assortments top help him during his meet. He carried some goggles, some water, some snacks, and most importantly, some love from his mother, written in the form of a short letter, tucked into his bag. He was scared. The scent of chlorine filled his nostrils as he took a deep breath, taking in oxygen from all around him and letting it out with on great sigh. He closed his eyes and then tried again. This time he saw himself, racing towards the finish, beating everyone else in his heat with inhuman speed. He placed confidence in his abilities as the coach told him that it would be time soon, to go and take his place on the block. Although he did not have his key chain with him, Meet decided to focus, to do a routine before the big event. His stretching was slow as he pondered the weight of the expectations placed upon him during the race as he slowly stepped up to the block, ready to jump into to the cold pool. He looked back on his grueling practices, telling himself, “You can do it, what would Michael Phelps do.” By then it was already time. The shrill whistle blared through his ears. The hundred-meter freestyle started, and he had to let go of all the weight his emotions, his body, and min could handle.
His strokes quickly cut through the splashing water, as he continued, quickly, stroke after stroke, until, he began to convey a slight aching in his shoulders. Meet heard the water telling him,” Give up, you have nothing left.” Despite this, he had to push on. He continued through the cold, frigid temperatures, repeatedly kicking, over and over, kick after kick, speeding up with every stroke. Back and forth and back and forth he swam, just like he had practiced every single practice. He was coming up on the last fifty meters. He could not look up yet, but all he could imagine was the possibility of winning his heat. His mind flashed forward to the end of the race, where the weight of his expectations being lifted when he finally won the race, the weight of his hope being fulfilled, the weight of his fear being eliminated by his victory. As he approached his final 25 meters, he swam, like he had never swum before, fueled with the determination to prove to himself, and to others, that he could really do anything he put his mind to. He flew by his last opponent, touching the wall before everyone else. Meet did not need the announcement of his victory, he already knew. The weight of the things he carried had now been turned into energy, fuel for him to achieve his desires. He realized that he no longer needs the chain, that he was his own good luck charm, and that to succeed, all he needed was himself, and sheer determination. His burdens helped him to get the victory he desired. He was a winner.

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