Oh the dreaded fall. We have all witnessed it, and most of us have suffered it, but usually in practice, in training, in class. Falling on your own personal time, however, is vastly different than falling in performance. Falling in practice mostly involves a giggle or a grunt, or both, and a sincere hope that you caught it all on camera so you can share it with your friends later. Falling in performance though, is an entirely different animal.

Emotion is high during performance, and so is expectation. As you walk onto the stage, hopes and dreams are alive and pulsing through your veins along with the adrenaline that fuels your racing heart. But you are ready. This is the moment that you have prepared for, trained for, agonized over, and so it begins! Your will implores your body to give you what you need as you lift, and spin, and climb, and contort. Reaching, bending, pushing, pulling each move to its level best. And then it happens. The fall that brings all of that crumbling to the ground in a heap, right along with your physical being. And here, it’s no laughing matter. Now it’s utter devastation. Flooded with emotions ranging anywhere from embarrassment and disappointment, all the way to disbelief, humiliation, and absolute mortification, you have to make the split second decision to stand up and keep going or try to fade into oblivion. But you stand. You stand, and you push through, and you finish. But you’re not proud. In your heart, still, you only feel the fall.

You leave the stage forcing a smile, but underneath feeling despondent, embarrassed and perhaps even choking back tears. You feel you definitely didn’t perform your best, or do your routine justice, and you’re certain you didn’t impress the audience. But you are wrong. For in the fall, an amazing thing happened. You brought us all together. In that moment, there was no studio, no country, no federation, there was only a great respect for a fallen sister or brother. There was no judgement, no jeering, no ridicule. There was only unity. And despite the fact that in that moment, you must have felt so alone on that stage, you did not fall alone. We all fell with you. Maybe you did not hear us in your panic and dismay, but we all began rooting for you, willing you to get back up. Pushing you with all of our being, trying to channel our strength straight to your heart so as to uplift you ourselves by sheer intention. In that moment, we would do anything to see you get back up. And then you did. Our hearts exploded with joy and relief and love and admiration. And we respect you even more for your fall. Because we know, a perfect routine is always a beautiful thing to behold. But watching the human spirit pick itself back up from the floor is an unmatched triumph.

You see my dear, we did not see your fall, we felt your stand. And from your stand, came power and love, acceptance and reassurance, for us all. Your fall was not an embarrassment to us. For us, with your fall came grace, honor, and dignity. So when you fall, do not consider it a defeat. It’s the day that you instilled us all with love, strength, respect, admiration, and inspiration. In your fall, every one of us rose, including you.

~ Kriston Leagh
International Pole Sports Federation


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