Behind Closed Eyes

Behind Closed Eyes

I’m sure all of us have had these feelings. The feelings of frustration, anger, pain, and at times, disappointment. But when I feel those things coming on, I quickly just close my eyes. not for a long time, but just long enough to reset my brain and remember what I am pushing for.  I remember my WHY. 


When I am at practice and my coaches are yelling. They scream things like, “KEEP PUSHING”, and “DON’T GET COMFORTABLE“.  My body is hurting and exhausted. Sometimes I even think that I can’t keep going. I can really feel myself about to crumble.  So it’s in that moment that I close my eyes for a second and think to myself…”YES I CAN!!” I MUST DIG DEEPER WITHIN MYSELF AND KEEP PUSHING!! I remember in that moment that by me pushing myself, I am getting stronger, therefore my team is getting stronger.  I remind myself of my WHY. 


When I am at home, I sometimes just want to play on my phone or watch TV, but I know that my training doesn’t just happen at the gym. I know that I should get up and stretch, or go over my new dance choreography. I should do this not to make myself look good, but because we are a team and when we all do our part, we look amazing as a team. When my alarm goes off an hour before my brother and sister’s does in the morning, yeah sure, I want to hit the snooze button and go back to sleep, BUT I CAN’T!  I know I need to get up and go run.


In that moment, I close my eyes, just for a moment. I reset my brain and think to myself “GET UP AND GET GRINDING!” Because I know that a true champion trains even when no one is watching. I know that I train my body to be stronger and faster. I know at that moment that by me getting up and doing my part, I am getting stronger; therefore my team will be stronger.  I remember my WHY. 


On competition day, before my feet hit that blue mat. I know that I am about to go out on stage. I know that I am getting ready to perform in front of all of the judges, my coaches, and my loved ones. It’s at THIS MOMENT that I sometimes feel myself getting overwhelmed with emotions of excitement and sometimes worry or nervousness.  The time is growing closer and we are “in the hole.” This means there is one team performing on stage and one team before us and then it’s our time.  My coaches give us one final pump up speech and pray with us.


I can hear the cheers from the fans and the pounding of the music coming through the speakers. I feel my heartbeat getting faster and I don’t understand why it’s hard to breathe when I’m standing still.  I instantly get racing thoughts of what if I mess up, what if I get tired, what if I forget everything or what if I fall.  It is in THAT MOMENT that I close my eyes, I take a nice deep breath and think to myself, “This is it, this is THE DAY. THIS IS WHAT YOU HAVE TRAINED FOR!” I hear my coaches voices telling me  “ STAY HUNGRY,” “ YOU HAVE THE HEART OF A LION,” “ BE FOREVER FOCUSED” and most importantly “IF YOU FEEL YOURSELF GETTING TIRED, REMEMBER THAT ANYBODY CAN DO ANYTHING FOR 8 MORE SECONDS!” Hearing their voices in my head, helps me to quickly reset my brain and remember my WHY.


I take the stage with my team and we all know that no matter what happens, we will KEEP PUSHING. Without having to say a word, just by giving each other a look of fierceness and togetherness, we all feel it in our hearts, that when we leave the stage, we will leave knowing that we gave our all, with no regrets. That is the most wonderful feeling of all. That feeling of togetherness and accomplishment and pride for each other. That is my WHY. 


So if you sometimes feel frustrated, pain, disappointment, fear, or nervousness, try closing your eyes, taking a deep breath, resetting your brain and listening to the encouraging voices of your coaches and loved ones, and you will remember your WHY. 

Sharita Richardson

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