Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Comfort Zone

By Julie Coulter Bellon

Do you know how hard it is to have to post after the hilarious Robison Wells and the incredibly talented Stephanie Black? I have no funny blog to post, no cover to show off.


I do have one thing I could tell you about though.

Right before Thanksgiving, my oldest son, who is a senior in high school and an officer in the Health Occupations Student Association, was asked if he would participate in a Dancing with the Stars fundraiser for the high school. They were asking officers from several school clubs to be partnered up with someone from the ballroom dance team, learn a dance, perform it and compete for a cash prize in front of the whole school. At first, he wasn’t very excited about it. They wanted him to do the jive and he’s six foot five with a size 14 shoe and he didn’t want to look like he was lumbering around the dance floor in front of all of his peers. It was definitely out of his comfort zone. But he eventually agreed to do it and has spent the last six weeks practicing almost every day in between basketball practices, games, school, and his job. He worked hard to learn the dance set to the song, Johnny B. Goode. His partner, thankfully, was tall as well, so they matched well as a couple. They were doing two tricks during the routine, a sausage roll and a cartwheel where he holds her and she spins around and upside down in three inch heels. I was surprised at the level of difficulty, but they were confident they could pull it off.

Yesterday afternoon was the final dress rehearsal before the competition that evening. I gave my son the last once-over in his costume before he left and wished him luck. An hour later, my husband and I packed all of our other children into the van and, of course, went early to get good seats. Even Grandpa came down to see it.

When we got there we were handed a program and a ballot. Each person got one vote and whichever couple got the most votes, would win the competition and the cash prize. There were six couples and my son was listed to perform fourth. I sat down nervously to wait and my five year old sat next to me. He watched the clock like a hawk, telling me minute by minute how much longer we had to wait before it started which, of course, heightened my anxiety because when the program was late in starting got mixed in with, "Mom, one more minute’s gone by and it hasn’t started yet. They’re late. How many more minutes?"

Finally the lights dimmed and it began. They introduced all six couples, everyone clapped politely, and then the competition got underway.

The first couple did a nice samba, and the next couple did a lindy. They both performed well, but the couple that had done the lindy had done really well, I thought. They were sure to get a lot of votes. The third couple also did a samba, and the girl in that partnership was very popular with the crowd since she was on the drill team. I knew they were sure to get a lot of votes.

Finally, it was time for my son to perform. They came out on stage and stood there facing the audience. Some music began to play, but it didn’t sound like Johnny B. Goode and they continued to stand there. It was the wrong music. Talk about making them more nervous! Finally the right music started and they began to move around the dance floor. I bit my lip as the first trick came up, but she landed the cartwheel thing perfectly. The couple behind me commented that my son wasn’t smiling and I bit my lip harder so I wouldn’t turn around and say anything. He was nervous and concentrating! I focused again on the dance. The hardest trick was coming up–the sausage roll where he holds her arms and whips her through his legs, twists her around and stands her back up. The moment arrived. It went off perfectly and the crowd roared its approval. It was over. He’d done so well I couldn’t stop smiling and clapping and neither could the crowd. It was a great moment.

The rest of the competition was a blur after that, with some quickstep and mambo. I got our ballots out and helped all five of my children vote (yes, they all voted for their brother). We watched a short dance showcase by the dance team which included a Grease medley and a West Coast swing that was fun and done really well. But the moment of truth had arrived.

The six couples were called back to the stage. The announcer told them that the votes had been counted and that it was close. The winner had only won by five votes. Then the announcer turned and asked the audience to give them all one more round of applause. I swear I was on the edge of my seat. The announcer asked for a drum roll . . . and then . . .

He won. My son won the competition.

He was elated and I could barely stop myself from jumping out of my chair. It was a sweet moment. I watched him accept everyone’s congratulations afterward, knowing that this had been a hard thing for him, something he’d never tried before and was totally out of his comfort zone, but he had worked hard on it. Standing there, as his mother, in that second I saw my son who is about to experience a whole lot of new things in his life when he graduates high school this year. He is going to work hard, and sometimes he will win and sometimes he won’t, but I saw in that moment, someone who thinks he can do it, who has the fortitude to try. And it made me proud.


At 1/10/2008 12:45 PM, Blogger Stephanie Humphreys said...

Congratulations to your son. That is a great accomplishment.

At 1/10/2008 1:08 PM, Blogger Julie Coulter Bellon said...

Thanks Stephanie. I think trying new things is always hard. That's what I'd like to do this year is try one new thing I wouldn't have in the past. Probably not sky diving though. But I sort of always wanted to do that. If only I wasn't afraid of heights.


At 1/10/2008 1:20 PM, Blogger Stephanie Humphreys said...

I try to learn something new every year as well, but I agree with you on the skydiving thing. You will never catch me jumping out of a moving plane.

At 1/10/2008 2:01 PM, Anonymous Marsha Ward said...

Argh!!! Blogger ate my fantastic comment.

How wonderful that your son worked hard and received the reward for his effort! Of course you're proud of him, and seeing him with new and appreciative eyes.

At 1/11/2008 12:26 AM, Blogger Stephanie Black said...

This is just SO cool! I wish I had been there--I would have been on the edge of my seat too, rooting for your son. Huge congratulations to him! Talk about a moment to make a mother proud!

P.S. Do you have any idea how hard it is to post next to the insightful, multi-talented and thoroughly brilliant Julie Bellon? You're so good at so many things that sometimes you scare me!

At 1/11/2008 9:43 AM, Blogger Anne Bradshaw said...

I've got tears in my eyes reading this, Julie. Congratulations to your son and his partner! What an excellent accomplishment--both the dancing AND leaving the comfort zone. Now he knows he can tackle anything difficult in the future and achieve his goals. Way to go! Aren't teens wonderful?

At 1/12/2008 5:03 PM, Blogger Rebecca Talley said...

What a great thing. Isn't it wonderful when we watch our kids work really hard and then enjoy recognition for a job well done? That's way cool! Woo hoo for your son!!


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