Afraid To Fall
It's the last week of August in 2003 and my first high school football game. Although we've been through band camp, learned all the music and drill and have been prepared beyond measure for a successful first performance -- this young 14 year old boy was nervous far beyond anything words could ever describe.
Thanks Meagan for this picture!
As the seconds ticked -- displayed on the scoreboard -- during the first and second quarters, my anxiety grew larger and larger. I was afraid to perform in front of hundreds of cheering fans during halftime... I mean, who wouldn't be if it were their first performance as well. As the scoreboard ticked to display that there were only 5 minutes left in the second quarter, our band director and drum major signaled to the entire band that it was now time to exit the bleachers and head to our designated space in the stadium to warm up for our debut.
Being in the low brass section brought many things, including being at the very back of the bleacher formation. I watched as one by one, each section of the Pride of The Tribe -- Salem High School Marching Band --- left the bleachers. By the time that it was my row's turn to exit, I had gathered my nerves and told myself, "it's fine... you can do this." It worked. With a new air of confidence, I quickly grabbed my instrument case, shako (hat) and jacket and began to walk. It was then that all of my confidence came tumbling down...
Before I knew it, I lost my balance and began sliding down the risers. I was mortified. Here I was... afraid to perform in front of hundreds of people with a marching band of 200+ members. That was the least of my worries, I just literally rolled down 3 sets of risers -- in an breathtaking solo performance -- in front of that same crowd.
Almost as soon as I stopped rolling, I sprang to my feet -- feeling all eyes on me -- and let out a loud laugh. I wasn't ashamed of falling... well maybe a little -- it just made me realize that I was worried for no reason. Sure, I was about to take on the daunting task of doing something that I've never done before. Sure, I had just took a tumble down 3 sets of risers, but life doesn't stop just because we are uncomfortable. Once I was able to come to my senses, one of the Piccolo Section Leaders -- Amanda -- came by to see if I were ok.
I was fine. A little shaken up but... fine.
She then said, "You're awesome, you just got back up and laughed... I would have been so embarrassed." The embarrassment only lasted a few seconds before I realized that regardless (unless I had broken a leg or collar bone) I was still expected to perform.
That experience (11 years ago) has taught me so much about life and holds a lesson that I would carry with me for the rest of my life and into my career. You may fall, you may fail, you may be embarrassed, you may be frustrated -- but never give up. Life goes on and you're still expected to perform.
Thank you, Amanda. You may not even remember this, but I do. Thank you for inadvertently teaching me an important lesson in life. The only thing limiting you is fear itself, so if you're afraid to fall then you're afraid to succeed.
Until Next Time
Smiles + Happiness,