Writing Center
Spring 2011 Edition

My Get Away

Cindy Gonzalez
Expressive 1010 Honorable Mention
Professor: Toa Tawa

It's a white 160 cm wooden board, with steel edges and a fiberglass base, covered in a graphic design of red, blue, black and purple shadings. Who knew a simple board like this could be so significant? For me it is. When I'm shredding down the mountain, me and my board become one. It's as if the board comes to life. My snowboard is a valuable item to me because of the main purpose it serves and the lessons I've learned. It has taught me a life realization and without it, I wouldn't stand where I am today. My snowboard represents my accomplishments, perseverance, and has taught me self-motivation.

When I was in ninth grade, I had a life-changing experience. It was only my second time going snowboarding, and I loved it. I was getting the hang of how to carve, how to keep my balance, and how to control my speed. On the way up there it was snowing but the snow thankfully did not stick on the roads. As the day went by it cleared up so by the time we left the resort it was a clear blue sky with snow just barely sticking and slowly melting on the side of the roads. On our way back from snowboarding, my world was suddenly turned around. It was just me and my two other friends that were on our way home. Steve was the driver and Daniel and I were the passengers. We were in a Cotillion White 1981 Eldorado Cadillac, those cars are not only known for the long hood they have but they are also classical cars. I noticed that Steve pulled down his arm rest, then placed his elbow on top of it, and rested his head on his hand. I really didn't think much of it. Daniel and I were in the back seat watching a movie, Triple X to be exact, and that movie is a pretty intense action movie, so that had most of our attention instead of our surroundings.

As I looked up, I started to notice that we were switching from the far right lane to the left lane. I was thinking we were just switching lanes when all of a sudden I saw Steve's head drop from his hand to a limp position. We were slowly swerving towards the oncoming lane. All the shock that was running through me was the same level of shock I had at all the action going on in the movie Triple X. Daniel was still watching the movie and didn't notice; I was in a state of shock. I don't even remember seeing the oncoming cars, barreling towards us. It was as if there was a white wall set right in front of me, projecting of all my memories in a matter of seconds. We were now in the far left lane, starting to go off the shoulder, and there was still some snow on the shoulder. The car was starting to go down a ditch. Unclenching my jaw, I shrieked, "Steve!" He woke up but it was too late his car couldn't grip on fast enough because of the snow and that car is just a classic car not really meant for snow. We were going more than 50 miles per hour and crashed directly into a thick, wooden telephone pole.

My first impulse was for us to all get out of the car. I didn't want the car to explode or start on fire. I opened the right back passenger door and pushed Daniel out. Thankfully the car had a long hood because if it wasn't for that Steve would have been crushed and possibly dead. By the time I jumped out of the car and looked back for Steve he was already out of the car. At that point, we all ran towards the highway. We jumped over a barbed-wired fence, and stumbled to the shoulder. I started hearing a lady yell, "Are you guys okay? Is anyone hurt?" Five cars were pulled over to the shoulder lane, and the occupants were running toward us. The never ending questions, asking if we were okay, began. I started to feel a pounding pain in my left ankle, and I felt the pain increase with the constant pressure on it. When a lady who happened to be a nurse asked me if I was in pain, I pointed towards my ankle.

My snowboarding boots were still on; she had to take them off with several hard tugs. Tears were burning in my eyes, and the pain now encased my leg. Once she had removed the boot and the socks, she asked me to point, flex, and move my foot to the left and right. I was able to do all of this efficiently, so neither of us thought anything was wrong. By the time the examination of my ankle was done, the police, ambulance, and a fire truck were on the scene. As a victim of the accident, I knew I needed to make my way to the Sheriff's truck. He needed to get my information, call my parents, and then find a sufficient form of transportation back home. The off-duty nurse helped me stand up and start to walk over to the truck. Suddenly, the pressure on my left ankle seemed to be too much. The cracking of the bone was evident, and I fell to the ground. I knew now that something was definitely wrong with my ankle. The tingle you get when your leg is asleep times ten was shooting up my leg and down my ankle. I have never felt such an excruciating pain in my life. The pain was hiding behind the adrenaline that was barely rushing through my body and it wasn't bearable, I couldn't even think of how it was going to feel after all my adrenaline was gone.

The sheriff made his way over to me, crumpled on the ground, and carried me back to his truck. He set me cautiously on the passenger seat and shut the door. Taking a deep breath, I glanced down at my ankle. It was large, as if I had an elephant's hoof attached to my leg. It was so swollen; I never knew that skin could stretch out that far, or be that discolored. The emotions that I had tried holding in since the accident came to surface. I was terrified, wondering how I was going to tell my parents about not only the accident, but about my damaged ankle. I was in severe pain, like someone was stabbing needles into my ankle and leg. Still worried about my board and gear, I rolled down the window to examine the accident scene. Daniel approached me asking if I was okay. I pointed down to my ankle and he could clearly see something was wrong. I asked him if he could take care of my board and gear, because at this point my board and gear were in no man's land and I was incapable of getting to it. He had made sure of it already.

The sheriff returned to the car, and could clearly see the terror and pain in my eyes. I broke down and started to cry uncontrollably; the adrenaline rush from the accident disappeared, making me shake and tremor along with my sobs and tears. The x-rays at the hospital revealed that I had completely broken my ankle; in fact, I broke it clean off. The only thing that was holding my foot to my leg was the stretched out, discolored skin. I knew that this day would have an impact on me, and that it would never be forgotten.

I had been enrolled in a competitive dance company ever since I was in third grade. Because of this accident, I had to quit dancing. Anytime I had a bad day, or was stressed out about anything, I could always count on dancing to take it all away. Dancing could take me into my own wonderland and place me in a different world. It was a place where I could express myself with music and I could shake all these problems away by simply moving my body. Dancing seriously meant the world to me. All of this was taken away from me by the accident. I had to undergo a serious surgery which placed two screws in my ankle, and left me in a wheelchair…then crutches…and then a slow recovery.

Ninth grade was a vital year for me. This is the year that determines if your skills can be part of your high school team. Generally it's the year that dreams either come true or go down the drain. Mine went down the drain. It was torturous all throughout high school, seeing the girls that I had grown up dancing with fulfilling our high school dreams by performing during half-time on the basketball court. It made me so sad. I know everything in life happens for a reason, but I never really understood why this trial was put in my life and what the reason of this situation really was for me. It wasn't until I started getting into snowboarding that I started to grasp the understanding of why I was put in the situation I was in.

Snowboarding was the only sport that I could really still do while I was going through physical therapy. I didn't finish physical therapy till January of my senior year. By this time, if I even wanted to get back into dance, I would have to do a lot of dance and technique lessons to even get close to the skills that all my dance friends were at. During all of this, I was still snowboarding and I ended up gaining so much love for this. Snowboarding was my rebound for loosing dance, and in the end it really did end up replacing it.

Snowboarding teaches me endless things every day. It teaches me ways to conquer my fears, and that is exactly what I needed after the accident. I learned how to be committed, devoted, and stroved to do better. Dancing taught me these traits, but after my accident I was extremely paranoid about pushing myself. My broken ankle is something that I looked at every day and seeing the damaged that I made to it in a matter of seconds is what frightens me about pushing myself past my comfort zone, I was clearly scared of going past that point. I didn't want to hurt myself more then what I already did.

When I'm shredding down the mountain, it's all up to me. I might have to take a couple falls, but I have learned to never give up and push myself to the end, because going down the mountain is the only way down. This is how I view my life now; I have to take some falls here and there, and learn from them. I have to learn to get up, brush it off, get on my own two feet and push myself to the end. Life will always throw you curve balls, but I've learned how to deal with them. Snowboarding taught me this, and now I'm not afraid of anything. I have learned to take a stand in life and go until the end. Just like in snowboarding, the more times I shred down the mountain fearlessly, the more I enjoy going down the run. I might catch the edge on my board and fall, but if I fall I might as well fall hard.

My snowboard means everything to me. It's a white 160 cm wooden board, with steel edges and a fiberglass base, covered in a graphic design of red, blue, black, and purple shadings. Who knew a simple board like this board could contain so much life in it? I did. It's my life learning tool and it has taught me how get up from any accident. It's not easy to sacrifice everything that comes from that accident. However, looking back now, it's worth everything I've learned from this accident. I've accomplished the hardest part: facing my fears and motivating myself to push past them. I have to stand up with my head held high, even if people are passing me in life. No one will wait for me, but everyone will be at the finish line. I've learned that life isn't about keeping up with everyone else; life is about doing everything at your own pace with internal motivation. It's all up to me.