Mistakes | Teen Ink


October 20, 2007
By Anonymous

"Sometimes the best way to learn is not by your mistakes, but by the mistakes of others." I found this to be true over the summer of 2004 at cheerleading camp. I discovered that one mistake could change someone's life forever.

It was the third day of camp at the University of Utah. All the squads were extremely excited for Camp Championships. All different squads from as far as Rigby, Idaho were preparing and practicing the Extreme Routine and cheer we had learned in the previous two days.

The time came when we had to perform our Extreme Routine in front of three or four squads and three judges. We each had the chance to perform twice with the judges choosing the higher score of the two. We gave an okay performance, but not as good as we could have.

After us a J.V. squad from South Summit was up to perform. In their routine they included a basket toss, which if performed correctly can be a very easy and awesome stunt. The first time through the basket toss group threw their flyer forward and she landed on her hands and knees on the ground. It was scary, but she wasn't hurt.

They started their second time through the performance and everything seemed to be going well, until something went terribly wrong. The flyer loaded in for another basket toss and trying to correct their last mistake the bases threw the flyer backwards. She flew over the back spot’s head, none of the bases even moved. They just watched her hit the ground. She landed directly on her neck and head. It was the worst thing I have ever seen happen in my life. One of her bases ran over to her and started screaming, "Oh my god, she's hurt really bad!" over and over. Then the flyer sat up and her coach ran to her. She fell over and started to twitch horribly.

Immediately someone called 911 and within minutes the constant whine of sirens was audible. Everyone was silent and terrified as the ambulance arrived. The paramedics quickly came to where we were all at and started to examine and talk to her. She was not responding because she was in shock. The instructors made us all turn around and play a game, but curious we all stole peeks of the girl. The paramedics then wrapped her neck with a brace and took her to the ambulance on a stretcher. As the ambulance drove away all you could hear was the girls from South Summit crying. Everyone was very shaken up and horrified to do anything.
* * * * *

That night the girls from South Summit went home. I heard that the whole incident was on TV, but I've never really found out for sure. The next day everyone except for South Summit competed for camp championships and went home.

A few months later we received the news that the flyer had broken her neck and would be paralyzed for the rest of her life. We also learned that the girls parents had just lost their only other child to a car accident.

The flyer’s life was changed by one choice, one mistake, as was everyone else's who witnessed the horrible tragedy. It taught us to appreciate the ability to walk and move. It also showed us how one mistake can change everything. Choose wisely, appreciate what you've got, and never take life for granted.

This will certify that the above work is completely original.

Ashley Cole

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