This I Believe: I Believe In Getting In The Zone

Jan 16, 2020

Essayist Noah Shore
Credit WPSU

I believe in getting in the zone.

The air around the swimming pool was still. Suddenly, an earsplitting “BEEP” pierced the silence, and the entire natatorium exploded with the sound of hundreds of cheering fans. SPLASH! The swimmers hit the water and the race began. With lactic acid throbbing in my arms and determination set in my mind, I had only one goal: to push my body and mind so vigorously that the only thing capable of stopping me would be that wall ahead. Underneath the surface of the water, I heard no cheering. I heard only the sound of my rapidly beating heart. Under the water, I saw nothing but that wall. I was focused on achieving my goal. I was focused on winning.

That experience was the first time I can remember being in the zone. I believe experiences that put you in the zone are important to human development. Growing up, I was always a competitive swimmer, but I didn’t take the sport too seriously until 8th grade. At that point in my life, I was a teenage boy going through the struggles of puberty. I felt like I wasn’t necessarily great at anything. I would even compare myself to friends who I perceived to be star athletes and academically gifted. I had been rolling along through life without any certain goal in mind, until I experienced what it was like to be in the zone.

It was my first home meet of my 8th grade year and I was set to race the 50 butterfly. Feeling nervous while stepping up to the diving block, I knew that I could win the race. I had been practicing extra hard and had wanted to win more than ever before. As the starting beep sounded and my skin hit the ice-cold surface of the water, I was instantly submerged into the zone. It might sound cheesy, but after winning that race I realized for the first time what it felt like to truly believe in yourself.

I loved the feeling of winning that race. It made the difficult year-long practices worth it. The discipline I learned from all that training has helped me in other areas of my life. Now, I take that same approach and apply it to Spanish class. If I study every single night, even when I don’t feel like it, I’ll be able to take the final in the zone. ­­

Being in the zone is almost an indescribable feeling. Nothing bothers me. Nothing distracts me. And it feels as if nothing can get in the way of my goals. So the next time I decide to try something new, I’ll remember what I feels like to be in a state of total focus and work as hard as I can to get there once again.

I believe in getting in the zone.

Noah Shore was a 2018 Ohio swimming state tournament medalist in the 200-freestyle relay.