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Victory Lap

Rachel Stein

INTRO This year I need to do something to take myself out of the shadows. I want to be someone, to do something valuable that will earn some recognition. If only I could win that award…

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

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A thick silence filled the auditorium as we anxiously awaited the name of this year’s grand winner. Holding my breath, I sent up a quick tefillah, begging Hashem to give me this gift. I had tried so hard; surely my efforts would be rewarded. At last, Rabbi Adelman, our principal, approached the podium.

“And now,” he began, sweeping the room with a glance, “the moment you’ve all been waiting for. First prize winner for the Kesser Chesed award is,” he paused meaningfully, “Devorah Klein!”

The room erupted in spontaneous applause. Slowly, as if in a dream, I rose from my seat and made my way onto the stage where Rabbi Adelman stood, beaming and holding my trophy. It had finally happened. At last I had made it to the top. Elation wrapped me in its arms and gave me a big hug. But what was that buzzing? It was growing louder and more insistent. I stretched out my arm to accept the trophy, but my hand touched something small and hard instead.


Through half-open eyes, I saw my alarm clock and my fingers reaching to hush its raucous noise. Oh, I realized, staring at my pale blue bedroom walls through a half stupor. It was just a dream. I didn’t really win… yet.

But this would be the year. My school, B’nos Melech, runs an annual fundraising campaign. Students are encouraged to get sponsors for swimming laps, and whoever brings in the most money wins the coveted award. And this year, I wanted — no, needed — that award more than anything.

It seems that when talents were passed out in Shamayim, I was skipped over and left standing in a lonely corner hidden by a cloud. All of my siblings and friends excel in at least one area, some of them even in multiple ways. Let’s start with my family. Chaim has the brains and is an incredible masmid. Shiffy sings like a nightingale, Suri is Miss Popular and always knows what to say and how to say it, and Daniel is amazingly athletic. Are you getting the picture?


Now let’s move on to my class. We have artists, musicians, writers, geniuses, dancers, athletes, and magnetic personalities. And many of the girls have more than just one talent. Yet yours truly, Devorah Klein, excels at — you got it, nothing. 

There is absolutely nothing special that stands out about me. Average student, average looks, average personality; that about sums me up. So that’s why I’ve decided that this year I needed to do something to take myself out of the shadows. 

I want to be someone, to do something valuable that will earn some recognition. And if I’d win the award for bringing in the most tzedakah, what an accomplishment that would be! Imagining the pride in my parents’ eyes, the raised eyebrows of my teachers and friends, sent shivers up and down my spine. (Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 663)

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