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Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Endurance (03/22/04)

By Leticia Caroccio


The referee’s starter pistol was poised and ready to go off. There was an air of expectancy hanging around the 8-lane Olympic size pool. The smell of chlorine only added to the sheer nerves of every girl standing on the starting blocks. This race, THE race of the day, of her life, would prove to make or break Sarah’s swimming season. Winning, certainly, would make up for all the hard work and heartache put forth during this trying season. But it wasn’t everything. “First place would be awesome”, she thought to herself, “but I really want to swim my personal best today”. Sarah was the epitome of grace under fire.

Shaking off the kinks in her elongated arms and legs, she began to shake, rattle and roll. She was beginning her pre-race routine. She was trying to loosen the muscles that were tightening under the pressure of the impending pursuit of her personal best. The long sinewy muscles of her arms and thighs were beginning to respond to Sarah’s prodding. Sarah was standing on the blocks, staring at the water that would soon cradle her and propel her to triumph. At 5”5, she didn’t seem to be an intimidating figure to face. When she donned her swim cap and goggles, she was transformed into the image and attitude of the Red Baron, Flying Ace. With every deep breath Sarah began to feel as if she could fly. A year ago she would have been content with just finishing this race. Today, this would not be acceptable. She was swimming on wings and a prayer.

When Sarah first started swimming, she was such a naïve little girl. She really believed that this would all be fun and games. But she soon began to realize that the faster and better she swam, the more serious it all became. Everyone’s hopes and dreams were quickly settled on her strong, broad shoulders. It was no longer about fun, but about responsibility. Her victories became her coach’s victories and her family’s victories, too. With every glide and every flip turn all she could see were their expectant eyes on her every stroke. She wanted to swim for them; she wanted to swim for herself.

I am Sarah’s older sister. Watching her grow up and become the lovely young lady that she is has been awe-inspiring for me. As a witness to her hard work and tenacious endeavor she taught me a few lessons about myself and lesson about life. I have driven her to every work out, even those that took place in the wee hours of the morning. She was in the pool after school until the sun went down. You could find me parked on the front row at every swim meet, screaming my head off, “Pull, Pull”. I was honored when I was called the “Team’s Number One Fan”. She never seemed to tire from the exertion. She never complained, not about green hair or about the constant perfume of chlorine that always permeated any area she happened to be in. She continued to swim on. And swim on she did. She swam into the public school record books and into the hearts of all those who know her.

As a new Christian, I struggled in my daily walk. Challenges arise and 9 out of 10 times I falter. But I get up everyday, ready to battle and face my day head on. I seek out comfort from the Bible. I am encouraged by the spiritual giants that have paved the way for me. I seek out advice and strength from my new brothers and sisters in the Lord. Their victories in the face of trials have encouraged me to grow and mature. I have learned many lessons on enduring in my faith. But the greatest lessons I have learned have been from Sarah.

She has met every challenge and competition with grace and determination. She has never wavered in the face of trepidation.

When Sarah first began swimming, she resembled a 7-legged spider that was caught in a drain. She thrashed and thrashed, yet didn’t seem to be going anywhere. This didn’t stop her from diving into the pool time and time again. She kept her eyes on the prize ahead. She gritted her teeth and learned to swim competitively.

Little by little her thrashing turned to graceful strokes of power. She swam every race as if her life depended on it. The roar of the crowd on the bleachers helped to drive her on. She endured many difficult seasons that may have appeared to be seasons of failures. But she stayed strong in the face of adversity. She never gave up.

So I take her example to heart. Just as she swam the good race, I, too, will run the good race in Christ. Just as she kept her eyes on the prize ahead, I, too, will keep my eyes on God’s promises of help in times of trouble. Just as she went from thrashing to becoming a graceful swan, I, too, know that I will go from crawling to running into His grace.

I can hear the crowd of my Christian family shout out encouragement, “Don’t give up”, “Don’t look back” and even “You’re doing great!” I am supported and inspired to endure as I run the race that is set before me in Jesus. As I dust myself off and continue running towards Him, I can see the prize and will forever reach out with outstretched hands. I will endure.

Sarah’s victories were my victories. And my victories are His victories.

Member Comments
Member Date
Dori Knight03/30/04
i really liked this piece until i came to the part about the seven legged spider. then i loved it. very well done! thanks for sharing this inspirational story!
Linda Germain 03/31/04
Wonderfully encouraging. You have learned from her, but she is also blessed to have YOU!
Lynne Cox04/01/04
In my opinion this is salable as it is. Wonderful crisp writing that keeps your interest.
Anthony David04/02/04
Written well, an absrbing read!
Donna Anderson04/02/04
Stirs up sweet sentiment in my heart. Welcome to the 'family' sister! :)
Christine Rhee04/03/04
How beautiful to see such a loyal, loving sister...Sarah is very blessed to have you!
Dave Wagner04/04/04
Excellent. The personal flavor really elevates this piece above the crowd. Very inspirational.

It could be tightened up a bit, since now and again, there are redundancies and obvious statements, so you could shave maybe 60 words or so if you wanted, and not lose a bit of punch.

Great submission.