Did you ever dream of soaring through the air at 7+ feet or higher? I definitely did not, but that is exactly what I was doing Friday night. How Aaron gets me into these things is beyond me but after last night’s meet, I was really glad he got me into this one.
A little over a year ago Aaron found out about a pole vaulting club in Tucson. He was pumped — he hadn’t vaulted since high school and fantasized about soaring over a 14 foot bar again. I was excited for him but never imagined myself vaulting. Having a little fear of heights, I don’t think pole vaulting is something I would gravitate towards. After a few practices Aaron talked me into going to watch. I am not a watcher — I am a doer. I didn’t last long just watching. That first night I just got on the trampoline to “warm up” — it was a cool night for just sitting around. The next practice I went to try this pole vaulting thing.
Well learning how to pole vault has been a slow process with a couple of injuries along the way but here I am a year later competing in my first meet. It wasn’t as scary as I anticipated, in fact it was rather exciting and not scary at all. I was the only female vaulter thus, as long as I cleared something, I would “win”. Well I started at 6 ft. and cleared that with no problems. We bumped it up 6 inches and I cleared it again — no problem. Seven feet took two attempts to clear and 7′6″ proved too much for me. After every jump I was giddy with excitement. It was hard to believe that I was actually pole vaulting.
I am excited about our next meet and looking forward to practice. I have lots left to learn — in my opinion I have only learned half of the vault — I can plant and jump but I don’ t really invert or turn over the bar. It makes clearing the bar a little difficult since I go over sideways. I tend to be a slow methodical learner, especially when it comes to sports but you know, the beauty of the whole thing is that I can learn this at a gradual pace. I am not limited to a 3 month track season or even four years of high school. I really have as long as my wonderful coaches are willing to coach.
To be quite honest, as with most new things I try the vault has really been a life lesson for me. The most important thing about the vault for me is learning how to step out of my comfort zone into an area of uncertainty in order to improve. If I never leave my comfort zone, I don’t challenge myself to become better. I put a lot of trust in my coaches and in myself that I can do what I am asked to do. With each little success, a sliver of confidence is gained. That confidence is critical for me. If I don’t believe I can do something I usually won’t. However if I believe I can, I have a much greater chance of actually doing it. So as for me in the vault, nine feet here I come!
Oh yeah, I also did long jump at the meet — it was ugly- enough said!