Carly’s Medal

By Marsha Collins

One evening last summer, I went to visit my 9-year-old niece, Carly. When I walked in the front door, there she stood grinning from ear-to-ear with a ribboned medal around her neck. She was practically turning inside out with delight. This surprised me as Carly normally plays down her achievements, but today she was beaming!

Earlier in the day, Carly went with her mom to the Hershey Track and Field Meet. She entered the meet as a Walk-on with no practice. Most of the girls were serious runners dressed in uniform, but Carly was just in a pair of play shorts and a t-shirt. The first race she entered was a qualifying heat and she came in 4th. This sent her on to the Finals that afternoon.

After lunch, without warming up, Carly entered the 200 Meter Finals. There were about 45 girls ranging from ages 8 to 9 competing in this race. In order to win a medal, there were three girls she had to beat.

Ahead of her on the straight away was one of the girls who beat her in the Semi-Finals. In the next 100 yards she knew she had to pass her. For the very first time, Carly felt the desire to dig down deep and willed herself to cross that line in front of the 4th place girl. She ended up beating her by ½ second coming in 3rd to win the medal.

Carly said, “Aunt Marsha, it felt wonderful to believe in myself!”

Before I left that evening, I tip-toed up the stairs to give Carly a kiss and found her sleeping with the medal next to her on her pillow.

Since then, Carly has successfully participated in many races. However, that was a race she learned something she will never forget—If you believe in yourself, anything is possible!