And with the sound of the first beep, the test begins.
I am sending Grace good vibes and strong lungs was she begins her test.
It’s a big day for her.
But first a bit of back story.
Three and a half years ago a year of injuries ended her gymnastic dreams.
Which is when she looked at field hockey differently.
Instead of something she did a little of on the side,
it began to be something she committed to.
She played with the high school team in grade nine.
She trained in the regional and provincial development programs.
But try as she might she was never selected for the BC Provincial Team.
It is an incredibly competitive field and the very best athletes are selected each spring.
But this year Grace stood out.
At the train-to-compete U18 tournament she was noticed by the selectors
and was invited to the BC Team training camp with one caveat.
She must meet the provincial fitness requirement in order to stay on the team.
In BC Field Hockey the standard is level 15.8 on a yoyo test.
If you have never taken such a test, then imagineyou have to sprint 20 meters back and forth at timed intervals resting for only 10 seconds in between each one. At each sprint is a beep which the athlete must cross the line in order to meet that level. As the test progresses, the beeps get faster and faster as the levels get higher (and waaaaay harder to make).
It is no easy feat but doable for an elite athlete.
But Grace had never made the required 15.8 level in any of the set testing days prior to the tournament and only once during a practice run despite giving it her all in cardio, sprint and endurance training sessions.
She had to make it count on this training day.
And so the first beep starts.
And she runs.
And she keeps up with the pack looking strong.
The levels get faster and faster.
She reaches level 12, then 13, then 14 and finally level 15.
Her spot of the BC team is within her grasp.
15.8 is all she needs.
But then she falters and fails to get back in time before the dreaded beep.
Each athlete is permitted one miss.
A second miss and they must stop the test and that is their final score.
She misses a second time and is not permitted to continue.
And her BC Team dream for this year ends…
…at level 15.4.
This is not the story I wanted to write.
I wanted to write about how all this perseverance paid off.
How on the day it counted she rose and beat the odds.
And we celebrated her achievement
all the way back from Vancouver.
But that didn’t happen.
Because sometimes you don’t win.
You give your all and you lose.
We all love a good comeback-happily-ever-after story.
And it’s not easy to watch this kind of story unfold.
But while the ending to this story is different than was planned
it doesn’t mean it can’t be a good one.
We just don’t know the ending yet.
All we know right now is, this particular chapter sucks.
So if you are still reading this and happen to be in the midst of your own non-winning chapter, do not give up.
The moments when you falter and stumble is not the whole story.
The grit and guts that has brought you this far,
will be your greatest asset in your next chapter.
“May the odds be forever in your favour”
*Post script. Three Okanagan athletes did not make the test level that day however since the training season is significantly shorter in this region than teams in the lower mainland, they were given one more chance to repeat the test by the head of BC Field Hockey. On this day Grace ran a 16.2 and was named to the BC team.