Tuesday, July 26, 2005

My Gold-Plated Silver Medal

Note: I wrote this the morning right after the event I am describing.

I woke up this morning and checked the silver medal I won in last night’s aero-hiphop competition at Slimmers. It was there. I really did win.

I arrived a little past 5:30 at the gym and I was surprised at how big the event was. The place was spruced up, there was food, there were booths, and there was a band playing on the floor. The mood was festive. I immediately recognized the other participants since they were all garbed-up for the competition. I deposited my things in the locker and went out to get myself a flashy something to accessorize my outfit. I looked for trinkets at Red Lane and ended up buying a pretty cool yellow and black cap which I thought would match my black shirt and yellow rubber shoes.

I was back in the gym in no time. I saw some of the contestants warming-up and stretching. It seemed like they were serious about this. I changed and signed up. The contestants were asked to choose their own number. I leafed through the stack of numbers and chose number 27 (my age) not for any mystical or sentimental reason but so I can remember it easily just in case I lose it. Before the competition started, I did some warming up myself.

At 7ish, the contestants were asked to proceed to the dance floor. My friends and I wanted to occupy the same place we usually do during regular aero-hiphop classes. However, we decided to move a little bit to the center because the huge mobile speakers were blocking our view of the mirror. We were also afraid the speakers might restrict our movement.

It felt good dancing in front of an audience. I loved the attention. Being there at the center of everyone’s gaze felt so right for me. And it also felt good dancing with friends. That made the difference for me. It took the pressure off the competition. We were just enjoying ourselves.

After an hour and a half of dancing, the winners were announced. But before that, the other guy participants and I took a short break in the locker. Our spirits were so high. I had a nasty cramp though on my left calf. Thanks to my friend Jun who was also one of the best dancers in the competition, the cramp didn’t get worse. I got on the long sink and he let me stretch my legs until the pain subsided. He instructed me to stomp the leg on the floor afterwards to normalize the blood flow.

We went out when the winners were about to be announced. A special award was given to the participant with the best costume. It went to my friend Mac. I was teasing him because he has been consistently winning the same award in other competitions as well. The bronze award went to another friend of mine Maricel. She is a good dancer I must say and she definitely deserves it.

Now there’s the silver and the gold award left to be given out. In my mind, I knew it would go to me and Jun. We were the best dancers in our regular hiphop sessions and we were consistent in the competition. I’d be happy getting either. When number 27 was called for the silver award, I got up, acknowledged the cheers, and went straight to the judge who was giving out the medals and the prizes. I was happy not because of the award I got but more so because I was sure Jun would get the gold. When I got back to my group, I patted Jun on the back and told him I knew the gold would be his. The announcement of the gold award came as a shock. It didn’t go to Jun. It went to this girl who was a classmate of ours in the regular hiphop class. She didn’t stand out. She was a dark horse. In fact, when her number was called, there was a look of disbelief in her face.

I don’t want to go into the nasty details, conspiracy theories, and hearsays about the judging. However surreal the results were, I’m happy for me. Of course I wanted the gold, but maybe not this time. I found gold elsewhere—from the friends, from the good time, from the good workout, from the praises of those who saw me. The silver medal isn’t bad at all. Mine’s plated with gold.

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