Sunday, December 02, 2012

How Aly Raisman Influenced a Jewish Student

It is amazing what an 18 year old Olympic gold medalist can do. In this essay a Jewish student from Texas tells us how Aly Raisman influenced him:
The familiar beat of the Jewish song ‘Hava Nagila’ and the claps of the audience fill the arena. She takes one big breath and starts her last tumbling run, finishing with a sky-high leap as the crowd erupts with excitement. Seconds later, her score is displayed and the commentators announce that Alexandra Raisman, one of the five American gymnasts that won the gold medal the 2012 Olympics in London, has individually won gold on the floor exercise.

After the Olympics ended I was struck with disappointment, however, even with the games over, Raisman motivated me for the rest of the summer. Instead of spending all day at the pool or hanging out with my friends I spent more time studying and improving my overall fitness.

What originally drew me to Aly was her dedication to gymnastics. There have been times where my dedication has faltered and I have debated not showing up to dance practice and sleeping in a little later or hanging out with my friends during lunch instead of attending a club meeting. However, when I think about how hard Raisman works and how many hours she puts into her routines, I rejoice at the fact that I only have to attend school and do homework.

I am Jewish just like Raisman, this was the initial reason that I took interest in her as a role model. I am inspired by how she manages to integrate her Jewish heritage in everything she does and how rock solid her dedication and pride is to her religion. When people ask me why there are eight days of Chanukah or why I am fasting on Yom Kippur, I take pride in answering these questions, informing people about my religion and myself. And being a part of a religion, a way of life that makes me stand out. Because of Aly and her dedication to her religion, I started to attend synagogue more and more this year in order to get in touch with my religion and heritage even more.

Aly was the team captain of the gymnastics team that won gold. Because of that I immediately knew that I wanted to try out for a leader role in my school’s dance team. The night before the audition, I practiced my routine over and over again envisioning Aly’s gold medal winning. I know for a fact that Aly was one of the reasons I made Lieutenant on the team. During practices I assist in running practices and choreographing parts of the routines, trying my best to lead my team to glory like Raisman did. Aly motivated me to become more than just someone who attends the practices but someone who leads the practices.

Although I have never met Aly, her actions and her qualities have influenced me in more ways than people who I actually have met. But her going to the Olympics is like me going to college, it takes quite a bit of work but the rewards that come out of it are endless. I intend to make my college experience and the rest of my life golden like Aly Raisman.

Maybe I should stop blogging and start working on my cartwheels?

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