“One day when I was two years old, I was on my couch watching the Summer Olympics with my mom. That’s when I knew I wanted to be a gymnast.”
One day when I was two years old, I was on my couch watching the Summer Olympics with my mom. That’s when I knew I wanted to be a gymnast. I started just a few weeks after the fact, and only progressed. In beginner’s class, I met my best friend, Cammie. We go to the same gymnasium now, and have been besties ever since.
Chapter One: Spotted
“I don’t know if this is such a great idea…” I said.
“Come on, it’ll be fine!” Cammie said, trying to reassure me.
Sorry, I’m Katherine Fisher. I have dark brown hair with crystal blue eyes and I’m about four and a half feet tall. My birthday is on March 17th–Saint Patrick’s Day! I was practicing routines at our gym with my best friend, Cammie. I’m ten years old and in level seven, the seventh highest competitive level at our gymnasium. Each level gets more challenging than the one before, and each level has different/harder routines and skills. I have a 12-year-old swimmer sister and a 14-year-old baseball/tennis brother. I also have a mom and a dad, and a medium chocolate labradoodle named Mak. My family’s talking about fostering another puppy, but our parents say that’s a long process. Anyway, my team shares a gym with the Golden Girls, our rival team, and they completely wrecked our supplies! Cammie and I were trying to think of a way to get back at the Golden Girls, but I wasn’t so sure about it…
* * *
I had to get home to finish my homework, so as soon as the Golden Girls walked into the gym I left for home. When I got there, I started my homework quickly so I wouldn’t get into trouble with my parents — I wasn’t even supposed to be at the gym! Cammie was still at the gym, doing whatever she was doing. I kept thinking about her because Cammie (alone) plus the Golden Girls equals…uh-oh! I just couldn’t help myself! Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore. I raced out the front door, leaving everything behind.
* * *
Of course, I was going to the gym. I had to find out what Cammie was doing. I had entered through the front door and was peeking through a window. When I got there, Cammie was trash talking to the Golden Girls.
I couldn’t let her do this! The Golden Girls had taken it way too far, but Cammie knew Coach Jasmine had told her if she did this to the Golden Girls again, she wouldn’t be able to compete in the next meet! Our team, Shooting Stars, needed Cammie! But then, I noticed Raven, a Golden Girl, was cursing back.
Instantly, they saw me. I tried to hide, but it was too late. I was dead meat. I’d been spotted.
Chapter Two: The Conversation
When Raven noticed me, that’s when I really started to freak out. She’s the “head” of the team at age eleven. Coach Jasmine believes everyone is the best on our team. I knew I’d have to come over sooner or later, so I chose sooner.
Raven smirked. “You brought your only friend — sorry, idiot — with you?!?! Such a baby!” she proclaimed.
“Excuse me?!?!” asked Cammie.
“Yeah, like, that’s right. I don’t care about, like, your stupid team. Like you’ll ever get sixth place in, like, our next meet, the Spring Classic. You do know the judges, like, give you tips, right? You might want to go practice to try to get, like, 80th in all around!” retorted Raven.
“You do know we got first place at the last meet that somebody forfeited? In fact, I’ve actually practiced, unlike someone I know. To be clear, there are only 78 people at the next meet! And there only are six teams, so technically what you’re saying is that we won’t get last place,” I told her.
“Oh, I know there aren’t even 80 people at the meet. That was my point. And, like, I meant you wouldn’t even place since, like, they might only give out five places,” Raven said, trying to give me a good comeback.
“How dare you,” I said and gasped, flabbergasted at her cruelness.
“You’ll get it this time,” Raven responded.
And with that, she grabbed me by the arm and pulled me away. I tried to fight her off, but Raven sure had a good grip. My parents would know I was missing.
Chapter Three: Missing
Raven was running off so quickly, I didn’t even realize what was going on! Then I realized, I was locked in Raven’s closet! At least she had lots of popular clothes and was rich, so to me, Raven’s closet was like a room. At least I had breathing space. Also, this is the only time I’m actually glad that Raven’s apartment is on the same floor as mine so I could hear my parents talking through the vent!
I could hear my parents saying, “Where’s Katherine? She’s not in her room! I better call Cammie’s mom. I bet Katherine’s with Cammie,” said my mom, trying to stay relaxed.
“Ok. I’ll try to reach KK on her cell,” replied my dad, worried as ever. I felt really worried for my parents too since they didn’t know where I was. And unfortunately, I left my phone on my desk so it wouldn’t interrupt me during routines. Suddenly, I could hear my phone ring from my room.
“She’s missing!” wailed my mom, after she and Dad had called everyone and looked everywhere.
“No, she’s not. We will find her,” promised my dad. “She’s old enough to take care of herself.”
* * *
Since I could hear my parents, they would be able to hear me, right? You might think I’m stupid, but I’m just not the kind of ten year old girl that causes all that commotion. I just stay calm and think of all the ways to get out. Thankfully, I’m a stickler for when my bangs come out of my ponytail in gymnastics, so I always keep a bobby-pin in my gymnastics pants, which luckily I was wearing coming back from the gym. It was my favorite one, but it would get me out so I bent my bobby-pin back and clicked it into the lock to push the lock back out.
As soon as I heard the click, I sprinted out to the window and looked down. Oh, great. There was a ladder, but it was about eight feet from the window. As brave as I could be, I pushed out Raven’s window screen and climbed onto the windowsill. I had to leave before Raven’s family finished dinner, so I stepped out over the front door, and slipped!
Swiftly, I gripped the sill just in time without being seen. Luckily, I’m a very strong gymnast, so I pulled myself back up into front support and then stood back up, horrified. So close, I thought. I took about five more steps, and had reached the ladder. I quickly climbed down, jumping onto a snowbank, and ran home to my parents, as proud as ever. After I had told them everything, my parents told Raven’s gymnastics coach, Casey, and Raven was disqualified from the Spring Classic.
Chapter Four: Another Side-Mate
I could tell that when Raven got back to her room, she must’ve checked on me but was horrified that I was missing. Suddenly, Raven’s parents received a phone call from Coach Casey, explaining everything. The next day at the gym, I could overhear Raven telling a teammate that she was grounded.
* * *
The next day at practice, Raven’s “sidekick” Amelia walked over to me! I was worried she’d come to strangle me or something. But she actually apologized!
“For what?” I asked, literally puzzled.
“For Raven. Listen, I heard what happened, and I don’t want to be her little ‘robot’ anymore, but I’m way too scared to admit it to her. Imagine what would happen! It’s bad enough that I’ll have to train with her, but I’m on your side now, and it’s not a trick. I did bring a copy of the blueprint of her next comeback, to make you scratch yourself from the meet by calling in using a voice modifier that she has copied your voice on. Would it be okay if I helped you prevent that from happening? I mean, if you think it’s totally dumb, that’s fine, I understand. But just to let you know, I deleted your voice and ripped up Raven’s copy of the plan,” Amelia proclaimed quickly.
“Of course!” I replied, overjoyed. “Under one condition–Cammie can help. No offense, but you guys kinda sorta really ruined our event stations. We were already trying to think of a comeback. You purposely raised the parallel bars to a height that not even Sara, the five feet and three inch tall girl on our team, could reach! You also lowered our vault to rec level, removed the screws from the best beam, and took out the springs on floor! And guess who had to fix it; us! Listen, I’m really sorry. I’m sure it was probably Raven’s idea, and I shouldn’t even be yelling at anyone. Please forgive me,” I begged.
“First of all, what are you talking about? We didn’t wreck…RAVEN!!!” Amelia yelled, angrily. “Sorry, I’m just mad. Raven must’ve done this without us knowing and was secretly practicing in her private gymnasium at her house so she could win first in all-around in the Spring Classic and get that middle school scholarship! I’m really sorry about everything. Of course Cammie can help, and I forgive you,” she proceeded. I thought about Raven for a moment. I realized right then, that her name fit her perfectly. She was cruel. She was horrible.
“Thanks so much!” I said, hugging Amelia. I felt so relieved that that moment was over. I’d been dreading the asking for help part for days.
Chapter Five: “Katherine!”
“I can do this, I can do this, I can do this…” I managed to utter.
“Don’t worry. You’ll do great!” replied my dad.
“That’s just what parents are supposed to say. Listen, I’m just really nervous because this is a really important meet, and I’ve never had a meet since I learned my new routine with a back layout in it,” I proclaimed.
I was at the Spring Classic and it was right after bars. I had already done beam. After floor, I only had vault left, a full on. That’s where you sprint down the vaulting runway and when you get to the table you jump off the springboard, push off your hands at the end and twist off. Even though Raven was DQ’d, she didn’t even come to cheer her team on!
“KATHERINE FISHER; FLOOR; LEVEL SEVEN,” I heard over the loudspeaker. Oh, great. My turn.
As I stepped onto the floor and presented to the judges, terrified, I could feel Amelia watching me. She wasn’t Raven, but I still felt nervous. I guess I didn’t feel horrible that Raven was disqualified. All of a sudden, my music started to play. I felt really good until my back layout. I had very angry butterflies in my stomach that were eager to escape into puke!
Everything seemed to slow down, but I stopped. I knew I was off-beat and I couldn’t afford to lose any more points, but since it’s my tumbling pass (one of the major tumbles in a routine, but you must run) I counted to three: 1…2…3! I hadn’t yet completed my back layout at a meet yet. Jasmine had spotted me and I had only completed it at practice three times alone, but she said I was ready. I started to sprint down the floor into my front handspring front tuck. After I presented, I started to lean forward and flipped back, keeping my knees straight and together. As I landed, I heard a loud snap and felt a fiery pain in my ankle! The music stopped and Jasmine, my parents and the nurse ran out onto the floor, while I had tears in my eyes.
“Katherine!” Jasmine yelled.
“Ow…” I managed to get out between gasps.
“Let’s get you to the ER, quick!” said my mom, horrified. But I was a little embarrassed for interrupting the whole competition.
I started to cry. In fact, I cried a whole downpour of tears! My brother, Matthew, broke his ankle once, and had a cast for a month. My sister, Alice, broke her wrist once, and had a cast for one month. There were two more meets until Nationals, and we had a meet every weekend. It hurt so much, I knew it was broken, and the doctor agreed. I would miss Nationals.
Chapter Six: The Plan
When I had finally come back from the ER, I was resting in bed with my leg up on my chair, reading. All of a sudden, the doorbell rang. Ding-dong! Dang it! I thought. I had lost my spot in my book. By the time I had found it, Cammie and Amelia were up in my room. If you hadn’t already figured it out, they were the ones that rang the doorbell.
After we had talked and I had answered many questions about my leg and the whole experience, Amelia handed me flowers-made of chocolate! The card tied to the bouquet read:
Feel better soon!
Cammie and Amelia”
“Aaawww! You sure know the way to my heart,” I said, sweetly. “CHOCOLATE!!!”
It turns out, Cammie got first place for all around in the Spring Classic and Amelia got second! They didn’t give out scholarships because of “the incident.”
“Amelia and I were thinking we totes need a good plan to get back at Raven. We need your help!” Cammie explained, implying they needed time with me to think of one.
“Of course,” I replied, willingly.
After about ten minutes of contemplating, we finally thought of a plan: to sneak into Raven’s house before the next meet that I can compete in and pour flour down Raven’s leotard. Then when she put it on, she’d have to leave for the meet and wouldn’t have time to change, since she always procrastinates and she wouldn’t have any extra time. She’s always first at every meet because her last name is Arango (the only person on our team with a last name that starts with an “A”). Our teams always competes in this order: beam, bars, floor and vault, so Raven would be on beam first. We compete in the same division every time because we practice at the same gym. Then, the flour would be so itchy Raven wouldn’t be able to resist scratching. You get points off for itching/scratching and touching your leotard during a meet so Raven would get her score lowered and maybe (if we’re lucky) she’d be so itchy, she’d fall off and get even more points deducted!
“We can’t let anyone find out, though,” I proclaimed.
“Duh,” replied Cammie.
Chapter Seven: Removed
ONE MONTH LATER:
“Honey, I think we’re better off waiting until tomorrow to get your cast off because it’s supposed to be warmer and some of the snow should be melted by tomorrow,” Mom explained to me.
“But, Mom! The sooner, the better. Also, I want to actually be able to practice some simple skills. Please, can we do it today! If we want to do it today, we have to leave now!” I replied, trying to reassure my mom.
“Fine,” she answered.
We had just driven to the doctor to see if I was ready to get my cast off. I was in the waiting room at the doctor’s office. When the secretary called my name, then my doctor, Dr. Blart, would check my ankle to see if my cast was ready to be taken off! I mean, it’s been on for a month and I’m pretty sure it’s ready because I’ve been resting it a lot.
“Katherine Fisher; ankle injury; Dr. Blart; room 117,” I heard the secretary, Rachel, call out.
Yes, yes, yes, I thought.
TEN MINUTES LATER:
“Congratulations, Katherine. You’ve been caring for your ankle so well and now you’ve been rewarded with the joy of no cast! I’ve officially taken it off,” said Dr. Blart.
“Thank you!” I replied, joyfully. All of a sudden, I sounded a little too happy.
“Oh, don’t thank me. You’ve taken terrific care of it!” Dr. Blart answered.
After Dad drove me home I three-way called Amelia and Cammie.
“How’d you guys do at Nationals? I just got my cast off!” I told them.
“We have something to tell you,” Cammie said joyfully. “Nationals were postponed because of the snow and now you can compete!”
“Really!?!?” I asked.
“Yup,” answered Amelia. “We think it’s time to put our plan into action,” Amelia informed me.
“Let’s do it at the meet in two days!” I suggested.
“Perfect,” both Cammie and Amelia answered at the same time. We all started to crack up.
Chapter Eight: (The Not So Sweet) Sweet Revenge
TWO DAYS LATER:
I was at the meet and had all the ingredients in my drawstring backpack. Cammie, Amelia, and I were ready to put our plan into action.
Finally, after stretching, it was time to go to beam. We were all very nervous, and I was almost starting to regret it. But if we were going to do it, now was our chance. We had all snuck over to Raven’s house before leaving for the meet and luckily she had her team leotard laid out. I had been the only one that dared to pour the flour in, but whatevs.
After the judges had set up, they called her name. I could tell by the flabbergasted look on her face that she had definitely noticed the flour. Well, she couldn’t quit now. Raven had to compete.
In her back-walkover, Raven’s foot slipped and landed just off of beam. Yes, I thought. Unfortunately, she was fine for the rest of her routine. As a result, she got 9.27.
Then she asked Coach Casey if she could go to the bathroom, with her sweet face. Of course Casey said yes and obviously (to Cammie, Amelia and I) Raven was actually changing into her other leotard, the one that’s an exact replica of her other one. The rest of the meet went went by so swiftly, I honestly didn’t even know what was happening.
On the floor I fell on my butt during my back layout but at least I didn’t die.
When we got home, my mom had a very stern look on her face. I wondered why — actually, no I didn’t. I knew why. Raven had told her parents, and now my parents knew. I’m sure they told Jasmine.
“What happened?” my mom demanded, sternly.
“I’m sorry. I couldn’t help it! You just don’t understand,” I replied, sobbing.
“Yes, I d-” mom was cut off.
“No, you don’t!” I assured her, sniffling. “You don’t know what she does to us. I know it was wrong of me, and I really regret doing it now, but I’ve tried ignoring Raven, trying to teach her that it’s wrong, everything! It was my only choice.”
All of a sudden, Mom held up her phone. “I do know,” she said, softly. On the screen, I saw our gym. It was a video camera! “I haven’t told you this, but Jasmine installed video cameras in the gym and sent us the link of footage. I’ve seen what you did to help, and what she did to hurt you. I understand. I’m glad that you realized what you did was wrong — because it was wrong — but I’ve seen it all, and I apologize to you. Just ‘cause I feel so bad that you have to handle this alone.”
“But I had Amelia and Cammie by my side!” I said.
“Yes, but next time you’re bullied, you need to tell me! Parents are here to help,” she told me.
“Okay,” I promised.
The next day at practice, Jasmine called Cammie, Amelia and I into her office. We all knew we were in trouble.
“I can’t believe you guys! You’re the best behaved kids on the team. Why did you sabotage Raven? Listen, I’ve seen what she did from the video cameras, but I heard about the meet. I need you for nationals, but if this happens again, you are benched from meets for one month! Do you understand?!?!” Jasmine scolded.
“Yes,” the three of us mumbled.
“Alright. Go warm-up. I’ll keep an eye on you guys,” Jasmine replied with a face as hard as rock.
Chapter Nine: Nationals
“I’m really nervous,” I told Cammie on the phone. “I don’t know if I can get my back layout.”
“Don’t worry. You’ll do great. You’ve done it at practice a few times, you just need to concentrate.”
“Thanks. I guess you’re right. Why do you always have to be so logical!” I said, sarcastically angry.
“Bye,” Cammie said.
“See you in three hours,” I replied.
Then Cammie hung up. Nationals were in three hours, and I was freaking out about my back layout. Now that my foot was better, I was physically able to do it, and I needed to prove I could move up to level eight!
* * *
When Cammie and I were at Nationals, it was already time to stretch! But, Raven wasn’t there, and she’s always first! Since my last name starts with an “F”, I always compete second, right after Raven. If she’s not here, I’d be first on floor! I’d completely screw up. All of a sudden, she walked in the door of Galaxy Gymnastics’ gym. Pheeeww! I thought.
Time flew by so fast (only like a half hour) so we were already on our second event-floor. There Raven was, doing her “little perfect routine,” with her “little perfect moves.” Then it was my turn. There I went, away with my dance. When I got to my first tumble pass (front handspring front tuck), I was glad I would get it over with soon, but then as I presented to the judges I realized it was now or never. I sprinted across the floor as fast as I could, thinking about what I had to do for my back layout. As of now I was on my roundoff double back handspring back tuck (a new skill in my routine even though I’d been doing them since level three). Here goes nothing, I thought in my head. I bent my arms and legs, and swooped my body backwards, keeping my legs straight in the air. I felt nothing as I landed, and had no idea what was going on. Suddenly I realized I HAD JUST COMPLETED MY BACK LAYOUT!!! As I finished my routine (with the biggest smile ever), Raven’s score was displayed. 9.55. Oh great, I thought. How am I ever supposed to beat that score? Then I presented to the judges for the last time and walked off the floor as my score appeared. 9.85!!! OMG!!! I couldn’t believe my eyes as I practically exploded. I couldn’t stop smiling, even during awards.
* * *
“FLOOR: THIRD PLACE, A TIE. CAMMIE GOLDFIN AT 9.45 FROM SHOOTING STARS AND RACHEL RICCARDI FROM GALAXY GYMNASTICS. AND SECOND PLACE, A TIE FROM THE GOLDEN GIRLS, RAVEN ARANGO, AND ALSO FROM GOLDEN GIRLS, AMELIA GOLDFIN AT 9.55. FIRST PLACE, KATHERINE FISHER FROM SHOOTING STARS AT 9.85!” I heard the speaker announce.
On and on she went. I got fourth on beam, second on bars, sixth on vault, and first AA (all around)!
All of a sudden, I heard the speaker say, “RAVEN ARANGO, YOU HAVE WON A MIDDLE SCHOOL SCHOLARSHIP!!!!!”
Then my heart sunk.
“EXCUSE ME, THERE WAS A MISTAKE…KATHERINE FISHER FROM SHOOTING STARS HAS ACTUALLY WON THE SCHOLARSHIP!!! WOO-HOO!” the announcer continued.
There was something about how she said “woo-hoo” that made me feel the best. I wasn’t trying to boast, but it felt like magic as I walked up onto the podium.
And the happiness continues! As soon as I walked into the front door of my house with all five medals, there was a giant banner and balloons everywhere! Someone must have told my parents about the surprise. All of a sudden, Amelia and Cammie slowly peeked out from behind a wall. I knew what they had done. Then I saw a tiny goldendoodle walk out of the bathroom behind Cammie and Amelia!
“We’re fostering a puppy!” my mom said, holding out a ‘Congrats!’ cake.
My phone started to ring upstairs in my room. I ran upstairs and picked it up on the fourth ring.
“Uh, I’m so sorry; please forgive me!” someone stammered on the other end.
“Excuse me, who is–Raven, is that you?!?!” I asked, stunned.
“Yeah, it’s me. Listen, I’m really sorry about what I’ve been doing all this time!”
“Oh, and you just realized that now?” I asked, upset.
“Well, after Nationals, Jasmine had a talk with me, and I guess she’s made me rethink my actions. Please forgive me,” Raven begged.
“You’re lucky I’m–never mind. Okay, I forgive you. But don’t you dare think we’re friends after what you’ve done to me! Listen, I’m sorry I’m yelling, but you need to prove to everyone that you are nice inside,” I commanded. “Why did you go through all that trouble anyway?”
“I was just…jealous. I mean, you have such a nice family. You’re so good at gymnastics, and you have friends! And, uh, you did an amazing job at the meet,” Raven complimented me.
“Uh, thanks. I’m sorry if I’ve been bragging about stuff that I have and you don’t. But if you didn’t act so jealous, you’d have way more friends than anyone else in the world. You’re really nice inside, you just need to show it on the outside, too. Don’t worry, I go through the same family problems as you, but with my siblings,” I replied with a laugh. I’d never really gotten a compliment from Raven before.
I hung up the phone as I ran back downstairs and gobbled up the last of the vanilla/chocolate swirl cake with mocha frosting.