I know that smile

The girl was new at this. She rolled down the slight incline of her driveway, suddenly perhaps realizing that she could possibly roll into the path of my oncoming car. Then she rotated her arms wildly in the way people do when desperately trying to maintain their balance, and finally she stepped off the skateboard.

She smiled sheepishly at me and, in the instant before my glimpse of her ended, I saw her smile inwardly at herself.

She’s going to be all right.

The smile said, “I don’t have this yet, but I will have this. It’s funny that that guy saw me fall short, but we both know I will get this.”

We see the Olympic snowboarder defy gravity. We never see the thousands of times she fell or the hundreds of smiles she smiled at herself after she had to flail her arms to keep her balance.

We see the all-star quarterback throw the tight spiral into the arms of his sprinting receiver 25 yards downfield. We never see the thousands of times he didn’t.

“You got this,” they say to themselves after they fall short. And eventually, if they keep trying, they do.

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