It's times like those when you have to take that miss (and, perhaps, that entire competition) in stride. Everyone messes up. Everyone has messed up at what seems like the worst possible moment, at the one meet that really mattered. In my own case, my last collegiate meet was an exceptionally mediocre performance at the national championships. It felt like a wasted opportunity, but in some ways it was a stepping stone.
Part of what it means to improve in the pole vault is that you have to take once-in-a-lifetime meets -- once-in-a-lifetime opportunities -- and you have to figure out how to make them commonplace. The first time you reach that next level, it feels amazing. "_Now_ I'm jumping with the big boys." But as you advance, so do your aspirations. And with hard work, today's demoralizing failure will look a lot more like a small speed-bump in hindsight.
(In photo: Jordan Scott)
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© Omari Stephens