Talent Show
William Xu, Division 2, 9th grade

People who tell you that they aren’t nervous before a performance are lying. The minutes and seconds leading up to your act are the most nerve-wracking of your life as you drown in your own sea of worry and anticipation. I was no exception as I sat in a chair backstage waiting for my act. This certainly wasn’t my first time on stage as I have performed multiple times before in middle school and elementary school. However, today was my first ever performance in my high school career, and I wasn’t keen in tarnishing this memory. I remember my very first talent show in fifth grade where I first performed “Can’t Buy Me Love” by the Beatles on the sax. To this day, this performance remains the most embarrassing of events in my life. In the middle of the performance, I let out a massive squeak where everyone in the room including me, physically cringed. Obviously, I didn’t place at all that talent show and this has always been a stain in my memory. From this sprung my pessimistic attitude that I harbored still, seconds before going onto stage.

Every year after that up to today, I would always find myself standing in the back during the closing ceremony, eyeing the performer that stole away the trophy that I was aiming for. While I expected more or less the same results for tonight, I still held on to a small glimmer of hope in my heart. I went through the fingerings for my alto sax solo, “Just Haven’t Met You Yet” by Michael Buble.  Hopefully, my hours of practice would pay off today. I was broken out of my trance by a voice. “William,” called stage crew, “Better get on to stage, you’re next.” I took a long, deep breath as I wiped the sweat gathering on my forehead. I then got up and entered the stage. As I waited behind the curtains, I thought of how far I came. I started playing the sax in fourth grade and I was now in ninth grade. It’s been five years, yet it seemed only a couple days ago when I was first learning how to put the instrument together. This memory brought me a small amount of peace as the curtains opened and the lights turned on. Then, I started playing.

After, the last performance, all the performers gathered on to the stage and, as the giant black curtains opened, the audience was delighted. It was the closing ceremony for the talent show and everyone was eager to hear the announced winners for the talent show. As for me, I was somewhere in the back as I wistfully eyed the giant trophy that would go to the best instrumental act. I did alright, I suppose, but I still messed up and expected no mercy for my errors. As if someone turned the world’s volume down, the whole room and stage went silent as one of the judges made his way up the stage. I heard the breath of anticipation from the crowd as the winner was about to be announced. I looked over to the other instrumental acts and was ready to applaud the winner. “The award for best instrumental act goes to…Just Haven’t Met You Yet performed by William Xu!” announced the judge. I started clapping as I looked to find the winner. It took a solid five seconds before the words of the judge penetrated my thick skull and reached my brain. Slack-faced and in awe, I stood there as my heart filled with joy.  It was a baffling, exhilarating, and exciting all at the same time.  The cheering performers pushed me towards the front of the stage where I numbly took the trophy and shook hands with the coordinators of the show. I was ecstatic and stupefied with joy as I carried the enormous trophy away. My first year in high school as a freshman, and I just won talent show. I couldn’t believe it since I was competing with people way older than me.

Back then, I might have just enjoyed the night because of my victory at last. However, looking back now, I realized that that particular talent show was more than just my first trophy. This was really a monumental turn for me in life as it really changed me as a person. I became more confident and it changed my pessimistic attitude in contrast to my first talent show. I was no longer someone to expect nothing but bad news.  I started joining more and more talent shows and although I still harbor my usual nervousness, I can get over it knowing I’m doing something that I love and that’s all that matters. Before that day, it was all about getting the trophy, or whatever would make me a winner, but I realized in the end, there is so much more. As I wrap up my ninth grade career, I’ll look back at this talent show to be the turning point in life. Not only as the day I got first, but the day my life changed. That is why this talent show is the best experience of my life. 
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