The other day, while I was waiting for my practice to start, I saw a girl from a different team leaving in tears. I didn’t grasp what was wrong with her, I had never seen her before so I don’t know her at all. But it still made me reflect on how much life we live inside those walls.

Even setting aside the emotions that the sport can give you, I can think of several occasions that can be considered a milestone that happened in my first home arena: my first date with my very first boyfriend, my first encounter of my first love, my first show… I had never thought about this under this perspective. Every arena created its own memories. Some of them are strictly connected to people I met, others to the results I had or new things I learned, others to first times. I can’t help wondering what is this arena going to be remembered for, it scares me.

One day a few years back I desperately needed some extra practice before a tryout and I travelled through the whole city at night because it was supposedly the only open facility within miles. So I called them the day before and made sure they would be opened. But when I got there, it was closed. I wanted to torch the place. I swore on every god out there that would be the last time I would ever set foot in that place. When I found out about the courses last year though, they sounded so promising I set aside my votes. After I heard the word “competition programme” I knew I had a new goal to work towards. In the long run, I told myself, but as it turns out, I was asked if I was interested in competing from the very first day, so I guess this is going to be my first-competition-arena. It is so promising, I fret I might tarnish it.

I still can distinguish the two courses, the sport and the coach. When I work with other coaches I feel enthused about what I’m doing for the sake of doing it, it doesn’t matter who I’m doing it with or for. But when he is coaching me, and I have a tight grip on myself and my mood, I push myself more, I induce myself to give more, to be relentless, I compel myself to confidence. It’s a challenge. It sounds like “You’ll see”.

I used to feel inferior to most of the other team mates: I got there last and felt like I had skipped a few steps in doing so, like I didn’t deserve to compete just yet. Once he had to literally drag me out to the middle of the arena from the godforsaken dark corner where I was exercising. So when he told me I had to radically change the way I was training, I felt stripped of that little confidence I had. I didn’t know where to start. I only wanted to drop down on my knees in a stupor and disappear. I felt I should go home and forget it. But then bit by bit I started investigating the idea, telling myself it was for my own good, that I shouldn’t dismiss the idea as nonsense, if nothing else give it a try. That’s when I realised I had to make it. More precisely, I was the only one in the lot who could expect to make it. I’ve felt like this ever since and it shows.

It’s the only legal way I have to show off and be noticed. It’s win-win. He sees the improvements and praises them. A lot, lately. Even when he’s not directly looking at my exercises. Even out loud in front of everyone. Which is embarassing, as I would love to take a look at my face when that happens… The HBP may be working its magic after all.

I hope this won’t change with any possible turn this thing will take.