While I was competing in Sacramento at the Govenors Cup I had an interesting experience.
It was a typical busy chaotic day with hundreds of athletes everywhere. It would almost appear like an ant hill of confusion for people not in the industry but also for first time athletes.
I remember trying to organize myself, getting food in on time. Making sure my suit was glued on right. Making sure I was glazed when needed. That my tan was prestine.
Making sure my back was good. My spinal cord injury reals havoc on show days cause of being on my feet all day and being in heels. I can’t practice with heels on all day or come show time my back has had it and I can’t perform at my best.
I remember at check ins noticing the stage was a lot higher than normal. More stairs to climb. Every show is different and some stages dont have any stairs. Also I noticed the athletes are entering from the left of stage not the right. Now maybe I’m the only one who notices these things. Maybe its cause of my background but either way Ill get to the point of this all I promise.
I also noticed the stage had carpet on it. Like a thin turf. Now I noticed this and realized I had practiced all my posing on tile becasue this is what I have at home. So I made sure to practice in my heels at my hotel and also back stage the day of the show.
Now came the day of the show. When its Bikinis turn Masters division goes first so thats me. I remember going on stage. Excited to showcase all of my hard work. Each one of us gets 15 seconds to do our routine, alone on stage. This is it! 15 seconds to showcase all of our hard work we spent 12 weeks or more working on.
My turn came. I walked to the centre square. Talking to myself, “Breathe, Joelle. Smile at the judges. Shoulders back, chest up. Transition, look to the angle, feet together, Turn, back pose, shoulders down, hold….don’t look silly. Now transition back to front pose. Smile……” You know the drill. I remember on my first transition pose thinking my heels stuck to the ground. It messed with my head but I think I was able to smooth it out and keep my routine flawless.
Now I remember going to the waiting area to wait for the Open class to be called. I remember looking around and seeing two beautiful women looking at me. Almost scared to death. I smiled at them and asked them if this was their first show. They replied bashfully that it was.
I said, “Go have fun and show them what you got”. They both smiled and said to me. “Any advice?”.
I said yes, “The floor is tacky. Move with purpose and be deliberate with your feet. But dont let it mess with your head too much. You got this”.
One of the girls looked at me and said to me, “Why help me?”
I said, “I was once a new athlete at my very first show. Its a lot to take in. Im at my 5th show and still learning new things at every show. I want you to be successful and have every chance like every other girl here. Now go have fun and kill it!”
At the time it didn’t mean anything to me. I just did what I felt any good human would do.
Now this week I’ve thought a lot about my last two shows and what I’d want to share about them. This is one of the moments I want to share the most about my shows. Women can support other women. We can be genuinely happy for other girls success without minimizing our own growth or opportunities.
Life is so unpredictable. We all work hard. Some showcase it better show day that others. Sometimes luck is on someone’s side more. Sometimes its just not your turn. Sometimes your the reason for someone else’s success. But no matter what. You choose how you act. You choose how your respond to success as well as how you respond to failure and defeat. Just because you don’t place first or at all doesn’t mean you failed.
Being mean and rude and spiteful is failure. Even if it comes with a first place trophy around your neck. Be a good human. Be the best you can be no matter the circumstances life throws you.