Personal Narrative Genre: Our Personal Narratives from Students 11 – 21

My First Dog

by Mario

Bark, bark! I saw and heard a Golden Retriever puppy. He is a silly, funny, and very sweet dog. We had stopped at a house with a “Puppies for Sale” sign.  We were stopped there because I had begged my dad to let us see the puppies. When I saw the puppies, I was as excited as a kid with one hundred dollars to spend in a candy shop.

One of the puppies was even more special than the rest.  He had a black spot near the center of his back. He was hopping and smiling with his tongue hanging out of his mouth.  He was as excited to see me as I was to see him.  I thought to myself, “Oh, my gosh.  I have to have him!” I asked my dad if we could keep him, and he said yes.

As soon as we returned home, I took my new dog for a walk, and he went zooming all over the place like a NASCAR. After four months, he was a dinosaur, titanic in size. We played catch together every day, and I also walked him every day.

Once, we lost him. I was filled with terror. We searched for him everywhere. Then I heard a hmm, hmm whimpering sound.  I looked under my bed, and there he was the whole time. Once I was playing around with him, and he clawed me so hard that my arm was bleeding like a strawberry, and I was in dread. I hid my injury from my parents, but then my mom asked why my hand was behind my back, and I became a frozen statue.   Eventually, I was forced to tell my parents what my dog had done.  It wasn’t his fault.  We were just playing, and he didn’t mean to hurt me.

Another time, I went to my cousin’s house on a ranch with a big field. My cousin was like two years old, and my dog, Buddy, loved him and always sat next to him. Then I put my baby cousin on top of Buddy, and he ran so fast that my cousin almost fell off onto the ground. Then all my aunts and uncle ran to the living room. Nobody was happy with Buddy.  I felt terrible because the incident was my fault, not Buddy’s.

Things were not getting better. When I went back to my house from school one day, all the sofas where all messed up, and Buddy’s hair was all over the place. Then he did his bathroom business all over the rug and urinated in all the corners. Then he was all covered with dirt and mud and ran at me so that then I was covered with dirt and mud. When my sister came in, she said, “You’re in a big mess!”  Just then, my mom came in and saw me and the messy house.

Then she looked all around, and she was so mad that she was like a volcano about to erupt.  She told my dad to sell Buddy. I knew he would. I was sobbing.  The next day, Buddy was gone. I was miserable. I learned that you should try not to become too attached to something because it might be taken away from you.  I also learned that you must be ready to take care of a pet, and if you are not ready, don’t buy a dog.

The Superman

by Will

I’m not afraid of speed.  However, I was until I went on The Superman ride in Six Flags a week ago. When the roller coaster climbed up, it felt like a rocket heading into space. Then I heard metal clinking. When I reached the top, the ride slowed, and then went straight down with me in it.

Before the ride began, when I was just climbing into the roller coaster car, I could hear the Troll Song, but that was a person in front of me. It was his phone making the music, so I told that guy that if he had his phone on the ride, he might lose it.  The man agreed with me, saying, “Okay,” and he put his phone in his pocket.

When the ride went straight down with great speed, I nearly fell off my seat, but I held tightly onto the handle bar. Everyone on the roller coaster screamed as loudly as trumpeting elephants. I anxiously surveyed where the tracks led. I was getting dizzy in a barrel roll. When I was on the highest track, I could see my cousin at the end of the ride.

When I was falling down the final hill, I was as scared as if I had seen a mutant ghost-spider-snake: a zombie snake with eight legs. A person behind me screamed out “ASDINWAFFLEMOMMO!”  I have no idea what he said, but he sounded like he was from another country, and he sounded happy, not scared.

The end was near, my eyes were red, filled with tears, and then a memory appeared.  I had survived The Superman.  Now my fear of speed was gone forever! I had an app that showed how fast we were going. At the end of the ride, my cousin looked at me and gave me a thumbs up. After all that, I lost my fear of speed! However, I was so scared that I turned as green as a pear. All of these words are true, except the mutant ghost-spider-snake. I didn’t see that zombie creature, but I was as scared as if I had seen it.  Now, I know speed can be scary and fun at the same time.

Play with Pain

by Lucas

“Blahhhh!” Heather stuck her small head out of the raggedy door. Luckily, my dad was out there, and she said, “Tristan can’t play. He has been throwing up all night.”

My dad said, “Are you kidding me?”

She said, “No.”

My dad said, “Oh, my gosh, poor kid. We need a new goalie, or we won’t be able to play.”

We went downstairs to get some tasty Fruit Loops, which my dad called steroids because every time I ate them, I scored. On the way, Tristan stuck his head out the door and said in a very weak and sickly voice, which sounded like an old man, “Wait, I can play, coach.”

My dad says, “Okay, Tristan, let’s call your mom,” because Tristan had been staying with someone else during the tournament. We called his mom, and Tristin talked to his mom for a while and then gave my dad the phone. My dad talked to his mom and she said, “He can play if he wants to.” A roar went out from my mouth as though I was a tiger. My teammates and I were so happy, but the question on everybody’s mind was whether or not he would play well. The car ride was fun, but Tristan was still sick and almost threw up the on the way to the game.

When we arrived at the rink, Tristan vomited once more, and then we got dressed. There was an awkward silence because Tristan also had a headache and our team was worried.  When we took the ice, we were playing in the south arena, which had hot locker rooms so it felt nice when we got out to the rink. I was skating around and felt like I was the best player in the world. I loved the amazing game of hockey.

When we returned to the bench after warming up, my dad, the coach, said, “Do you believe in miracles?” This was a question from the movie, “Miracle.” Then we did our cheer.

“Who are we?” said the team captain, Gordon.

We responded, “Flyers.”

He said, “Who?”

Then we shouted, “Flyers.”

Then we all yelled, “Flyers on three. One, two, three, Flyers!”

Then the game playing the championship game. I was super excited because we were in the most important game of the tournament. We were playing the Cupertino Cougars, who were favored to win because they brought in a ringer. The game started, and the Cougars came at us. They were an army protecting their base, but my goalie was unbelievable. I finally got the break I was looking for. The puck was in the slot, and so was I, so I grabbed the puck and fired it with my cannon at the net and scored top shelf, where Momma keeps the cookies. Then they made a beautiful goal, and the game was tied up one to one.

***

Finally, it was the third period, and time was running out. One of the players on the other team skated over Tristan’s hand, and he could not pick up his stick. The referee would not blow the whistle for a while because Tristan did not fall down and was forced to make some incredible saves until the ref finally blew the whistle. My dad was furiously giving the ref a piece of his mind.

With sixteen seconds left to go, I ripped a shot in the five-hole, between the goalie’s legs, to win the game, and everyone celebrated.   It was amazing that we won the game, but in addition to winning, I learned something important. I learned that no matter how difficult things get, you should not give up, and you should always try your best. So if you get sick and your team needs you, always play, even though you might have to play with pain.

Memories That I’ll Never Forget

by Carsyn

Pulling on my cowboy boot, I swallow my last bite of bagel. I jump in the truck; today is going to be rough. We have to get everything set up and get the goats settled in. The day before the Sonoma-Marin Fair is always the wildest one.

Click, click, clack; I staple my last poster to the lattice. My dad spreads the clean straw around in the pens. Splash is the sound of the water as it fills the buckets up, nearly hitting me. Now, it is time to go home and get the goats.  As we try to gather the goats, they all try to get loose like a stampede of wild mustangs trying to get free. I capture one, thinking, “One down; five to go.”  Finally, we have control of all the goats and we transport them to the fairgrounds.

After unloading all the goats into the pens at the fairgrounds, I get them settled in and head to my R.V. If you are wondering why I have my R.V there, well, you can stay in your R.V during the fair. My dad returns to pick me up, and we head home. The goats will spend the night away from home tonight.  I say goodnight to my family and jump in my bed and fall asleep.

“Carsyn, time to get up,” my mom says. I get up almost immediately. Today is Wednesday, the first day of the fair. When I hop in the truck, the cold air gives me goose bumps. Seven o’clock in the morning is definitely not my thing. When we arrive at the fair, it is like a zoo; exhibitors, animals, and parents are everywhere. Exhibitors’ meeting, here I come. “Name: Carsyn Hardy.” The sweet lady puts my wristband on me. Walking around looking at all of the animals, my cousins, Rose and Rachel, and I decide to enter the crazy, madness of the carnival. After a few wild rides, I finally announce that I’m exhausted. We think it is the perfect time to head back to our cozy, warm R.V.s and sleep.

The next morning, my eyes slowly open. I lie there for a few minutes, and then I head to the goat barn. People who will be showing goats are scattered around getting their goats ready for the show today. After I finish feeding the goats, my sister, Casey, arrives. The show can go really well or terribly. First, the event is showmanship, and Darcey and I slowly walk into the ring.  We have two other competitors, but I know we have this. The judge hands me a shiny, red bucket with all kinds of goodies. I know Darcey and I can win it. Now, comes Stella, and she gets third place.  Next is Autumn, who gets fourth place. Finally, it is Darcey and Dakota’s turn. They are in the same class, so I have someone else show Dakota for me. Darcey gets first and Dakota gets second. We compete for junior and reserve junior champion. A feeling runs through my body that I can’t even describe. The judge hands me a dark purple, fancy rosette ribbon; all I can say is “Thank you.” I am very proud of Darcey when she wins junior champion. Dakota wins reserve junior champion. I am so proud of my goats. Now, I can have no worries, and I can hang out at the fair.

Walking into the goat barn the next morning, every cattle owner is getting their calves and cows ready for the show. I’m excited to watch, but first I have to feed my goats.  All of the calves and cows crowd around the ring. I can barely get through. Finally, I sit on the wooden bleachers. After the fifth class is shown, I head back to my R.V.

I hear a knock, knock. “Come in!” I scream like a hyena.

“Hey, girl,” Rose says.

“Hey,” I reply.

Rose, Rachel, and I head towards the carnival. “Oh, my God!” I scream at the top off my lungs as we ride the zipper, which is a crazy beast. The ride turns my cousin Rachel and I upside down a million times. We go back to our R.Vs to cure our headaches.

Saturday is the replacement heifer show. A replacement heifer is a calf you raise until two years old, and then you sell it before it has a baby. I watch for a little, and then I get hungry and head back to my R.V. Sunday is, sadly, the last day. It’s an oven on 400 degrees; I feel as though I’m about to pass out from the extreme heat. The replacement heifer sale is today. After the sale, everyone crowds around the ring for the award ceremony. When the announcer calls my name for the best dairy goat exhibitor under thirteen, I feel overjoyed.

At four o’clock on Sunday, we pack up our stuff. My sister and I load up the goats in the trailer, and then we check out and head home. My head rests against the cold glass of our vehicle. I’m a bird letting her babies fly away. It is a bittersweet moment because I want to stay, but I know I have to go. I know I did a phenomenal job this year, and I received $159.00. I learned that if you take good care of your animals and always do and try your best and hardest, it pays off in the end. I also learned that it is hard letting go of something that you love. I can’t wait until next year’s fair, exactly 361 days left.

Overcoming My Fear

by Emily

I am not afraid of roller coasters. I used to be, but that was before I took my first trip to Disneyland. I will never forget that trip. It changed my life.

It all started when my family and I were on our second day at Disneyland. My family and I were walking by a huge, enormous, gigantic roller coaster called The Thunder Mountain Railroad. It was as tall as the Empire State building. I was hoping that no one would notice it so we wouldn’t have to go on it, but my dad spotted it immediately.

I told my dad that I really didn’t want to go on it, but he said that I would never overcome my fear of roller coasters if I didn’t go on one. I decided that I would try it. Once.

When we got on the ride, I was shaking uncontrollably. The ride started moving, slowly at first, and then into a cave that was a black hole with fake bats in it.  The ride went up ,up, up, and then, suddenly, it happened. We went down the hill faster than anything. Zooming, racing, flying. Faster and faster. I smiled. I was actually having fun.

When the ride was over, I wanted to go on it again. I started going on every roller coaster in Disneyland. After all the other roller coasters, I would always go on The Thunder Mountain Railroad because that ride will always be my favorite. I have learned that I shouldn’t decide that I don’t like something before I have tried it. Now, I will go on any roller coaster anyone asks me to. I have overcome my fear of roller coasters.

Trip to Clear Lake

by Marcus

We were out on the lake. The water was nails hitting against me.  The boat was moving fast. We were about to fall off our tubes. I did fall off.  When I got to the surface of the water, I saw that my friend, Max, was still hanging on. Then my dad pulled the boat next to me and cut the engine. I swam to the ladder when my dad put it down. When I got into the boat, I saw Max jump off the tube and swim to the boat. After that, we started to head back to the launch ramp, and on the way, my dad said I could take the wheel. It wasn’t the first time I had driven a boat. I loved driving my boat because it was very fun. Once we got to the launch ramp, I let my dad take over because I still don’t know how to dock a boat.

After my dad docked the boat and we all got off, my dog, who had been in the boat with us, saw a duck and ran after it. When the duck flew off the dock, my dog tried to leap off after the duck, but she was scared and only managed a belly flop. Max and I had to jump off the dock, swim to my dog, bring her back to my boat, and help her up to the boat and onto the dock. Boy, she swam like a fish. After that, my dad went to go get his truck and the trailer so he could pull the boat out of the water.

On the way to our cabin, my dad let Max and me lie in the boat while he was pulling it. While he was pulling the boat, our tube fell out of our boat. We had to stop the car, get the tube, throw it into the boat, and continue to drive to our cabin. When we got there, Max and I went straight inside and played Xbox and continued playing at least two hours after my dad had said to turn it off and go to sleep.

The next morning, Max and I went down the street and got donuts and milk. When we returned, we played a little Xbox, and boy, it was roasting like an oven outside. After our video games, we went tubing for about six hours. Then we went to a restaurant and ate the best hamburgers. After that, we jumped into the boat and headed for the launch ramp to pull the boat up so we could again head for the cabin. When we got there, we went straight to bed. Then we got up, we changed, and we went straight to my dad’s truck, hooked up the boat, and went straight back to the lake.

When we got to the lake, we put the boat in the water and went straight to tubing. I went first. My dad did not wait to see if I was ready. He just punched the gas and started to do doughnuts, driving us in circles. My dad flung me off of the tube within the first five minutes. I couldn’t survive the wake waves.  After about two hours of tubing, we went to the launch ramp and pulled the boat out of the water and went to the cabin.

When we got there we packed up and went home. It was the best weekend ever. I had so much fun, and I learned that in order to survive doughnuts on the tube, you must make it past the first whip around and you have to have a strong grip on the tube, too.  I also learned the importance of spending the days you have with family and friends doing something awesomely fun so you will always remember the time you had.

Terrifying Blobs of Jell-O Jellyfish

by Cole

“This can’t be bad,” I thought, but I was wrong. It was horrible and atrocious.  They were everywhere! My fear was getting the best of me. There were just too many slimy, creepy, scary jellyfish!

“Ahh!” I screamed through my snorkel.

I was afraid and dreaded these lifeless blobs of Jell-O.

“Dad,” I stuttered, “Can these jellyfish sting me?”

“No, I don’t think so,” he replied.

I jolted down Jellyfish Lake Forest like a cheetah.

“Wait for me!” yelled my Grandpa, Abu, who was more tired than I.

“Can’t we just go scuba diving again?” I sputtered, hoping for an activity in Palau that was free of jellyfish.

“Too late,” my dad chuckled.

A few years ago, I had had another bad experience with jellyfish in Spain. The Spanish people said, “Medusa! Medusa!” along with some other random Spanish words I couldn’t distinguish. I heard the people were shouting, and “Medusa” caught my ears. I shrugged and thought, “Maybe there is a Six Flags nearby, and they all love the Medusa ride!” I went along, minding my own business, hunting for seashells. Then I found the perfect heart-shaped rock for my mom. It was even her favorite color pink. Just as I picked it up, out of the blue, a jellyfish stung and bit me, right on my hand. Yes, they do have teeth! It hurt badly.

“Oww!” I screamed, flinging the rock in the air and running toward the shore as though my life depended on it.

It felt like my hand had vaporized.  Luckily, the friendly Spanish people helped me by applying a special potion to help alleviate the pain. This special lotion helped minimize the stinging sensation.

Back in Palau, this memory from my Spanish jellyfish sting was at the front of my mind.  I was terrified of these nearly invisible beasts. “Ahh, get it away!” I would scream every five seconds.

Now, my grandpa, Abu, was literally scaring me out of my mind. Abu was playing ping-pong with the jellyfish.  He poked and jiggled the jellyfish, and then he took it out of the water and brought it up close to me.

“Ahhhhh!” I hollered

It was so scary! And then one big jellyfish touched me. I freaked out!

“Oh, no!” I yelled

What no sting; no bite? I guess these jellyfish were friendly.  What a relief!

This experience didn’t really help me overcome my fear of jellyfish.  They are so hard to see in the water, and you almost always never see one coming to make its attack. So, yes, bears, lions, sharks, and snakes are all scary, but to me jellyfish are the worst.  I am still fearful of them, and anytime I go into the ocean, I always have my jelly radar on. I am always scoping out the sea for any jellyfish that are waiting to make their next sting.

Family Road Trip

by Karla

VVRROOMM goes the very, very slow train. I see my mom, Marta; my sisters, Diana, Belen, and, Damaris; my brother, Erik, who only came because Josue stayed at home because he “supposedly” had work; and I all squished in four seats. All of our luggage is where our feet are, so, of course, we are crushed. Anyway I’m eating my hot cinnamon roll that feels as if it just came out of the oven. MMMmmm! VVRROOMM goes the slow train, once again. Since my mom and I are both bored, I start taking pictures of my mom with the great view out the window behind her.  Erik and I trade seats because he is sitting with Diana, and I want to sit with her.

While I’m sitting with Diana, I see this magazine that looks not that interesting, but I look through it anyway. Right as I flip to that one page, I am literally in heaven. It is about how you can buy items from the Harry Potter movies, not the real props, though. I am seriously screaming and jumping in my head, and I am jumping a little in my seat as well. You can buy Hermione’s necklace, which was very pretty; you can also buy Lucius Malfoy’s, Draco Malfoy’s dad, cane, or the sorting hat, which looks AWESOME. Many other items are also available. I show the page to Diana as fast as a race car, which is SUPER fast.

“Look!” I exclaim with excitement, but I guess she doesn’t care because she keeps looking at her magazine. So I hit her, but not so hard.

“What?” she asks, rudely, and she hits me back. I guess I deserve it because I hit her, but when she hits me, it kind of tickles. She finally stops looking at her magazine and looks at mine, FINALLY.

“Cool, that’s pretty cool, but I call dibs on Hermione’s necklace, though,” she says that kind of nicely.

“Fine, but I call dibs on Hermione’s wand and the sorting hat. What now?” I say that as if I have just won an award, but I haven’t.

“Whatever,” replies Diana and as she finishes speaking, her eyes go back to her magazine. We walk to the bathroom and get a drink of water. We need a break from sitting. Once we return to our spot, two ladies are sitting in two of our seats, so now we all have to try to fit into four seats. Oh, and you bet we are squished, since we had barely fit into six seats earlier. Luckily, we make it through, thank goodness.

Finally, we arrive to Hanford, and to think I had not believed we would make it. When we get off the train, I swear our faces are dropping tears of sweat. It is as hot as boiling soup boiling on fire. I try to get under this building thing, where there is shade. I sit on a bench, which is in the shade, but I get up as quickly as a roadrunner because the bench is as hot as the fire boiling the soup. I get off as quickly as I can and yell, but not too loudly. “HHHOOOTTT!” I shout. My mom tells me to be quiet and to get in the picture she is about to take. I try not to squint with the sun in my eyes, and I try to look at my mom’s black camera. CLICK goes the sound of my mom’s flashing, black camera.

My mom turns her head to search for my aunt, my Tia Chelo; my mom notices that my aunt is on the other side. My mom turns her head to be sure that no one is going to “crash” into us. We run over as fast as we can and meet my aunt there. We say our hellos and we give our hugs. We get into my aunt’s gigantic, red truck, where once again we are squished. When we pull into her driveway, I see my cousins, and also my aunt’s kids: Yarely, Tony, and Arianna. Once I see my cousins, I just know that my cousins, my family, and I are going to have a great summer!  It is worth a little discomfort in order to be together and to see one another.

Big Bruise

by Willow

It was hot, as if the sun was two feet away.  The water was ice cold, and we were miserable. We were swimming in the block of ice, after diving off the boat until…BAM! Someone was hurt, and it was me. Now, what did I do wrong?!

The day started when my neighbor’s granddaughter, Adrianna, came over. We were miserable with the heat.  In order to fix that problem, we went swimming.  I thought the sun was getting closer and closer by the second because it was so hot. Swimming seemed like the perfect way to beat the heat.

When Adrianna; my sister, Jade; and I got to the pond, the boat was right where we left it the day before. We took one of two anchors on the boat, turned the boat lengthwise, and jumped off into the ice cold water.  The day before, I had realized that whenever someone jumped off the boat, the boat would shift, and the people on the boat would wobble.  That day, I had jumped off while performing a twist with my eyes open until the water was close. After a while, Adrianna, caught on, realizing that I was making the boat rock and wave, and soon we were having races from the water to the boat.

The boat’s deck and seats were by now incredibly wet. Right before one of my fabulous jumps, I slipped, hit my thigh, was halfway in the water, and hit my shin. I was eaten by the water. I was in agony. After I was hurt, I swam up as fast as a dog chasing a tennis ball. I sat on the mud, massaging the dent in my thigh. A few days later, my bruise was several colors.

Now, every time I either go to the pond or go swimming, I remember to be careful. I also remember not to rush things. I know that it can be dangerous if I am not careful.  I have a small darkened scar on my thigh as a permanent reminder to take care at the pond.  Ever since that incident, I haven’t hurt myself as badly.

The Enormous Day of Gymnastics

by Jose

Why am I here? Is this really happening? I guess it is. I see all these gymnasts, one by one, two by two, and I’m one of them. The competition starts. I gather up with my team, and we get in an enthusiastic line with big smiles on our faces. It’s time for the introduction. We walk out proudly. They call our team name, and we wave with joy. “Time to go,” our coaches say. I am so scared I am like a little kid about to get on the scariest ride ever, but this is an even scarier ride.

Once it is my turn to compete, I am thinking what it would be like to win first place in the all-around, which means you have won compared to all of the participants in every event. My first event is parallel bars, where I swing and balance atop the bars. For every event, I have to wait for what seems like an hour for the judges to salute me. I look at the judges; they are dragons compared to me. The dragons salute to me; I salute back. Tap, tap, tap. I don’t jog to the springboard, I sprint to the springboard. I go up into my handstand, jump off, and stick my landing. My whole family and friends yell super loudly, “Yay; yay!” I smile to them.

Now it is time for my second event, high bar. I salute to the dragons once again. Here… I… Go…I grab the steel bar, and start swinging like a monkey. As my landing gets closer, I think to myself, “Stick the landing.” I let go of the bar, and I wiggle as my feet touch the ground, but then I stop wiggling as I make a perfect landing. Now, you may think only my family cheers for me this time, but guess again.  The whole building cheers for me. That is the most inspirational time of day for me. I feel like crying with joy.

My last event of the day is almost over, but I have to do the best on this.  Because this is my last event, I want to do even better than I already have so I show what I have to offer.  I remind myself not to psych myself out and to just be myself. Still, this is my best event, the floor exercise. My coaches say that I will bring this meet home and never forget it. I hope they are right.

I salute the big dragons of the floor exercise, but one thing is different. This time the dragons, the frightening judges, aren’t boys; they are girls. So now I start my home, my awesome event, my place. I do my round-off back-handspring. I nail this challenging move.  I am nervous while I await the judges’ scores. The judges give me my all-around score. I have earned sixteenth place out of one thousand people.

I will never forget this day. Now I know that you should never give up your dreams, even when reaching your dream seems impossible. As long as try hard, you will continue to make progress.  So never give up on your dreams.

Past Years’ Personal Narratives from Students 11 – 21

The Honey Tournament

by Shaina

POP! We all hastened back to center field and high-fived each other. There was just more and more excitement bubbling inside of me every time we scored a goal! We were just one point ahead of the Pleasanton Orange Crush team! They were all-stars so we knew we had to surpass them and move on and win to get to the championships!

Soon, the games really began. We were tied three to three. Now we just needed to get one more shot! One more goal! Our coaches had warned us that we only had ten more minutes, but while on the field it felt like three. “PASS IT HERE! YOU GOT ME AND JACKIE!” I shrieked to my teammate because Jackie and I had been in the center of the goal, but unfortunately, there were too many orange players for my teammate with the ball to cross. Before we knew it, the game had ended, and we had tied an all-star team!

Later on, there was one more game to go on Saturday, September 24, 2011, and we had to play without one of our best players, Mia, on the team! It had been so windy that the grass was blowing in all the same direction so much that it looked like green hair. Despite the wind, we survived the game without Mia, and we won the game five to one! We were passing and shooting and keeping the ball on our opponents’ side of the field. We had been communicating with every person all the time! Additionally, the team we were playing wasn’t that prominent, which may have been a factor in our win.

Even though we had won one of our games with a score of five to one, and we tied an all-star team three to three, the significant games started on Sunday, September 25, 2011. It was the day of the championship, and one game would determine if we were to move on or…not. This situation was as nerve-wracking as having to plunge out of a plane without a parachute.

On that Sunday, rain was pounding on us. It felt as if the rain was playing dodge ball with us; it just kept coming and coming. Right into the game, we had already gained two goals in the first half, high-fiving each other and saying, “Good job.” By the second half, we even had to stop scoring because our score was too high! (Apparently, there is this tournament rule about having too many goals scored when the other team doesn’t.) So, we beat that team, five to NOTHING! We couldn’t get our hopes too high now because it was time for the championship game, and as soon as we got on the field, it was a whole new fresh start. I ran as fast as the speed of light to reach the ball before my competitors, but I was too late. We were defeated.  The winning team had the higher score of four to two.

Trudging slowly, my teammates and I walked to the sidelines in defeat. We had gotten second place in the championship game. We had done what we could, and overall, we did well.  We tied an all-star team, we won with a score of five to one, and we defeated another team with a five to zero score! Nevertheless, there was still some shame and disappointment filling our guts, especially while looking at our rivals screaming in triumph. I felt like someone should slam me into a wall because nobody could make me feel more aggravated than I already did. After our coaches said, “It was no big deal,” we walked joylessly back to our cars.  On the drive back home, I spent my time thinking about what my team had done wrong and how we could change to become vigorous so that next time we could become the superior team.

The Big Game

by Dominic

“Here comes the kick,” a voice yelled from the announcer’s booth.  The ball rolled right to my teammate.  He got pummeled.  That looked like it hurt.  This game was going to be a struggle.

Our starting offense was in the game.  I didn’t start on offense, but I did start on defense.  The first play was called: broken I, right purple for dive.  It was a run to the full back.  We received about four yards on the play.  Our next play was a pitch to the tailback.  He was running and made about twelve yards, but then an opponent came out of nowhere and crushed him.  We all knew that the tailback was out of the game.

With five minutes left in the first quarter, we were down a player, and so my coach put me in at wide receiver.  I was going for a pass.  I was supposed to run a streak.  When I stepped to the line, I was so nervous I felt like my stomach was going to explode!

“Down!  Set!  Hike!” called the quarterback.  I started sprinting as fast as a cheetah.  I was wide open, and the quarterback threw the football.  I could hear the ball calling my name to catch it.  I ran for another seven yards, and then was tackled.  Unfortunately, the play was called back because the referee had run into my coach.  After that another of our tailbacks got a pitch and fumbled.  Now it was the other team’s ball.  They gave the ball off a few times. Then the quarter was over.

In the second quarter, I was at running back.  I had some nice runs, each for about five yards.  After a couple of plays, I went to tight end.  I was told that I would receive a pass.  I would run a streak.  I was wide open, and then the quarterback threw a bad pass.  The second quarter didn’t have much excitement.  At halftime, my coach told my team how to stop the long runs the other team was getting on us, and then we were ready for the second half.

In the third quarter, it was a dogfight, but still no one scored.  The score remained at zero to zero.  It was then the fourth quarter, and we knew we had to pick it up.  It was the other team’s ball on our own fifteen yard line.  We had a few players who didn’t know how to play very well, and they had to receive a certain number of plays in each game.  When they were in the game, the other team ran right to them, scoring a touchdown.

The score was seven to zero.  The other team kicked the ball off, and we got the ball.  We tried passing, but didn’t complete any of the passes.  It was their ball again with a minute and a half left on the clock.  They pitched to their running back, and he got a twenty yard run.  They were on our ten yard line.  We had our bad players in again, and they ran to them and scored.  The other team had won, fourteen to zero.

Even though we lost the game, we were still in second place.  I had a lot of fun in the game.  I think I tried my personal best.  I guess we can’t win them all.

Life Changing!

by Brookie

“SMMAACCKK!!!” goes the wooden spoon on my derriere as I scream my lungs out of my mouth. “JASON!”I yelled. I stare at my devil cousin laughing with his fierce horns and broken pitchfork. Actually, that broken pitchfork was a broken wooden spoon that my derriere broke when my cousin whooped me with it. “What was that for?!” I shouted.

It all started when my family visited my uncle, aunt, and cousin in Idaho. My uncle sent me to go spy on my cousin, Jason, and his girlfriend. So I tiptoed downstairs and overheard them talking about LOVE. They were talking about other boring stuff, too. However, the weirdest subject was about love.

Right as my cousin was about to plant one on the poor girl, I jumped out and said, “Hey, Cuz, how’s it going down here? Are you in the mood for L.O.V.E?” As soon as I said that, Jason flung out of his chair, grabbed a wooden spoon, and chased me around the room for a good thirty seconds. I was running like a racehorse, but he was sprinting like a cheetah. Finally, he snatched me like a prisoner and plopped a mean one on me.

My eyes about popped out of my head. As I screamed at the top of my lungs, my uncle flew down the stairs. “What’s going on down here?” he shouted.

“Jason hit me!” I replied. My uncle grabbed the broken spoon and slapped my cousin with it.

By this time, I was sitting on the couch laughing so hard, I cried. Jason got in so much trouble his girlfriend had to leave. That was a life-changing trip. I learned a lot, but most importantly, I know to never bug my cousin again.

An Extravagant Day

by Max

I blew the sheets off of me, practically flying off my bunk as fast as a cat!  I knew that today we were going to Concord and maybe getting my cat.  My sister and I had visited the shelter the day before.  I had found the perfect cat—a gray tabby.  It was as gray as a thunderstorm in winter.  This was my dream cat.  I said, “This is the right cat.”

My family had talked about getting me a cat for months, and now it might happen.  We had gotten toys ready and a litter box.  I was hoping to get a cat soon.  My sister had a cat named Smokey.  So my dad said I could get a cat, too.  We were ready for the cat.

This cat wasn’t just any cat.  He was silver with a gray back and golden and turquoise eyes.  He also had huge, satellite dish ears.  This cat’s shelter name was Nico.  My sister and I had visited the shelter the day before, and Nico had begged to get out of that shelter.  He meowed, stuck his paws out, and did anything to get our attention.  This was the cat.  I just had to ask my dad.  Before we left for Concord, I asked my dad for Nico.  He said that it was too last minute, and the answer was no.

Later, leaving for Concord, I still knew that Nico was the perfect cat.  But, so what?  If I didn’t get Nico, there were still thousands of cats left in the world…but this was the right cat.  Luckiluy, when we got to Concord, my dad said we could get Nico!  A rainbow shot through my heart!  I knew that the rest of the day was going to be awesome.  My sister called her friend to adopt Nico so that we could get him later that evening.

Later that night, we went to get Nico.  He was zipping around the house left and right, almost as though he was skating on ice.  He looked like a tiger with a long, sleek body and stripes covering him.  He looked like a Rex!  I knew I had found the perfect name for him as he pranced over to lie on my lap.  He was meowing and howling as he sped across the floor.  He was as gray as a thunderstorm.  I had found my dream cat, my best friend.  Getting my cat taught me that if you wait long enough, you can find the perfect friend.

“Today was an extravagant day!” I exclaimed.

First Time

by Nikolas

“Wow!  We get to lead off?  I’ve never gotten to lead off when the pitcher has the ball!” I exclaimed.

“Yes, and you can take off stealing whenever you want.  The bases are ten feet longer, too,” replied my coach.

“Really?”

“Yeah.  Tomorrow, you can practice your leads, and you guys need to work on your jumps and steals at practice, too,” answered my coach.

At that practice, my coach started us off right away with the things I most wanted to try.   “You guys will be doing leads today and steals.  Nick, come show us what you’ve got.  In a week, you guys have a tournament in Manteca.”

“Will we be playing on turf or dirt?  Real grass or fake grass?” my teammates and I all asked.

“It is a turf infield with a real grass outfield,” responded our coach.

After only two practices, it was the day of the tournament, and our game was about to start.  I was up to bat, and I already had two strikes on me.  SMACK! I hit the ball down the third baseline.  It kept rolling down the line as I rounded second base, and then third.  I was going to head home for a home run.  I slid.  “Safe!” the umpire called.  I had hit my first homerun.

After the tournament, my whole team was going to throw a party at the coach’s house.  We were going to swim and play whiffle ball.  The day of the party, we arrived to the coach’s house at one o’clock and stayed until six o’clock.  Our coach told us all that we had done a really good job for our first tournament.  He also told us he was stunned to see what we could do with just two practices.

Now our team will get back together next fall.  Our coach was so awesome.  He knew a lot of tips about baseball.  That’s because he played baseball.  He was also really funny, especially at the hotel when we traveled to the tournament.  Our coach said he plans to keep our same team, but get more kids.  I am so happy that I played travel ball.

House Full of Dogs

by Camille

Sweat was leaking out of my pores and making my skin moist. My feet were as sore as if I was stepping on jagged rocks. My shorts were sticking to my thighs. I grabbed a portable camera from my pocket and fumbled it in my hand. I was mesmerized by the heat. Suddenly, I felt a behemoth, slobbery lick and looked down. I saw a golden pup staring me right in the eyes. “Camille, what are you doing?” my mom said in an exhausted tone.

I darted to my mom. “What do you want?” I said.

“The puppy that the Santos’s are getting is over here,” my mom said.

I ambulated to the cage, and there was a chubby pup, licking continually. “His name is Louie,” said Anna.

I leaned over. Snap! Click! Snap! I took millions of pictures of the frenzy, fuzzy, fluffy, furball.  My aunt ran over and nearly tackled me with a hug. A broad smile appeared on my aunt’s face. “So what do you thing?” My aunt showed dogs and also bred them.

“I adore it; I still can’t believe you show dogs. You must have millions,” I said.

“Not quite!” my aunt giggled. She looked around, and I could tell she was thinking. “How about I give you a tour,”

I smiled. “I’m so glad that you decided to get a dog from my aunt,” I said to Anna. The sun followed me as I smiled and flew, camera still in hand, next to my aunt.

“I still can’t believe that your aunt shows dogs and that we’re in Oregon!” Anna said.

Sweat was leaking down my face as we walked down the gravel road. I squealed as I saw all the dogs in their stalls. They snarled as I snapped dozens of photos. I sprinted on the gravel and saw five Cocker Spaniels lined up and beaming as if they were posing. They were wearing handkerchief, and I felt as if I was looking at a puppy calendar. “Camille, we’re going to go look at the adult dogs,” Mom said.

As I walked to my mom, I saw nature crying out for me to take a look.  The trees and plants looked much different from the ones in California.  They looked older, and there were a lot more open fields.  Even the air smelled different; it smelled fresher.  It felt like I was on a different planet.

As I reached my mom, I could see her holding a glass of pink lemonade with a lemon wedge. The ice cubes jiggled as if they were dancing as I tapped them with my straw. I squished the lemon, and it immediately tingled my tongue. The lemonade danced down my throat. I walked to the stalls, and sweat was dripping like rain down my shirt. It was as hot as an oven in Oregon, especially on the cement while the sun was reflecting off the cement and onto my face. I walked to the kennel and my eyes immediately connected to an orange lab. I stroked the furry beast.  I could see she was different from the others because her fur was kind of curly, and she had long, floppy ears.  She was a ball of fire.

I left the dog and walked down to my aunt’s house.  I realized this was the last day in Oregon. I could see Louie, the brand new pup, licking his new owners. I saw my aunt’s eyes looking at my family friends.  She was happy that the puppy was going to a loving and safe home. I ran up to my aunt and gave her a bear hug. “I’m going to miss you! It’s so amazing that you breed and show dogs!” She gave me a kiss, and then I loaded up into the car, ready to take the long car ride back home.  As we drove out of the driveway, I looked back and could see the happiness and the sadness in her eyes.  I could see the happiness of us finally getting to meet each other and the sadness of us leaving. I had enjoyed my time in Oregon.  It was the best time ever!

Getting Over the Fear

by Emily

Icy hurricanes blow me into a freezer.  My whole body turns frozen as I stand in the opening of the ice rink.  Heat flows away from my body like wind carrying leaves away from their homes on the trees.  Right when I enter, I feel nervous emotions build up inside of me just like little bubbles bursting to pop, and all of those bubbles won’t leave me alone.

“All right, Emily, let’s go.  This is the day, and please speed it up and get into the car so we won’t be late for the competition,” says my mom as she gets into the car.

“Okay, Mom.  I’m coming,” I reply.

A few hours later, I am standing in the ice rink, shivering madly in my skating dress.  I am a little nervous that I am not going to do well in my program because it included a double lutz, and I hadn’t been landing it lately.

Later on in the day, I have my skates on, and I am ready to go.  I’m going to do a way better job than in the last competition, and I’m going to pop those bubbles that are still in my stomach, I thought to myself.

Once on the ice, I start to warm up my program, doing jumps and spins in the little time I have.  Finally, the announcer calls everyone in my half of the group to get off the ice because our five to six minute warm-up is over.  There are twelve girls total in my group so the referee has split the group into two warm-up sections.  After the warm-ups, one by one, each skater will perform her program, and soon, I am next.

“Now, from the Santa Rosa Figure Skating Club, please welcome Emily Lile!” says the announcer as I skate onto the ice.

Well, here I go, I say to myself as I notice that the judges, with their huge, black coats on, are a small group of penguins!

When the music plays, I start and up comes my first jump, a double loop.  I land it!  The next jump is a double salchow, which is easy for me to land, so I do.  After my double salchow, I have my footwork sequence, which is also easy.  All I have to do in my footwork is to move only my feet and my arms.

Next after my footwork is another jump, my double loop axel.  Sccrratttchhh.  I wobble a little on the landing, but still complete the jump!  Camel-catch foot, back sit time.  Spin!  A camel-catch foot can sometimes hurt my leg, but I still fight through, going into a back sit position for another spin in my variation.

Going into the next jump, I start feeling those nervous bubbles in my stomach again, and that’s because the next jump is my double lutz.  I am almost in the corner of the ice rink, where I even do my jump, and…BAM!  I have been defeated by my very own double lutz! I fall on the ice, which is a hard rock, but I get up anyway and land my next jump and spin.  I am finished! Although I fell on my jump, I am still proud of myself!

A half an hour passes, and then I receive my results.  I get fifth place out of twelve girls.  During this competition, I learned that I have improved since my last competition, but that’s not all I learned.  I learned that I have popped my nervous bubbles, and that there is no reason to be nervous when I compete.  I can just have fun!

The Big Day

by Julian

I rush my grandparents to get to the hospital, yelling for them to hurry. I fill with emotion. I am shaking in my seat, violently vibrating it so much the cushion of my seat almost tore in half. I think to myself, “It is almost time for the day that my sister will be born.’’

I run to the front door, being as fast as a road runner. The door takes forever to open.  It is probably because the door hates me or something like that. Finally opening the door, my family and I sprint to my mother’s hospital room, trying to get there as fast as possible. When we get to the room, it is a snowy wonderland because everything is almost white. Managing to breathe, I look at my mom and give her a hug as gigantic as Mount Everest. Then I step back with a big, embarrassed grin on my face and remind her it is almost time for the big day. Then we both start sweating like crazy. Waterfalls are going down our faces, and those waterfalls are as big as Niagara Falls!

More of my family arrives and we all say, “Hi.” My family and I go down to the cafeteria to eat, but the food is disgusting.  Then my grandfather gives me a little pep talk about how I have to take care of my sister all through her life and protect her from anything that is harmful to her. As I make my way back upstairs to my mom’s bedroom, I feel nerve-racking on the outside, but really happy on the inside.

I try opening the door, but it is locked, so go downstairs to get my family. My uncle, Manny, goes to get a doctor to see what is going on. When we finally find a doctor, we asked what has happened. The doctor says, “She was having some contractions.”  He tells us we have to wait in the hallway for a while.  After one full our of waiting, wondering if the baby has come, the door opens with a click, and my family and I all stand up almost at the same exact time. “She is going to be fine,” the doctor says, “and the baby will be coming soon.”

It is getting late, so I have to go home and get ready for school the next day. As soon as I get in bed I start thinking how beautiful my baby sister will look and how wonderful she will be. I am anticipating making a connection with her.

The next morning I go to school, hoping for the day to be short and fast. I watch the clock, waiting for school to be over, but the clock is a snail moving very, very slowly. Finally, the bell rings, and I go home and then to the hospital. As I am being driven to the hospital, my grandparents tell me my baby sister is about to be born.  Then I know today is going to be the happiest day of my life!

I go to the room my mom was in, but she isn’t there. We ask the doctor where she is, and tells us she is in the delivery room. So we all go down to the delivery room.  All the adults go into the room and we children stay outside.  It feels like we are waiting forever until the door creaks open, and we are allowed to enter. I see my mom holding a little, tiny baby in a little, tiny blanket. I feel tears come to my eyes, and I feel a drop of water run down my cheek. I walk toward them, reaching for her to rest in my arms I think to myself, “Today is the day my sister was born.”

My life has been changed and renewed by having my sister being born in this world.  Now I have a person who makes me happier and complete. I know I have made the connection that I wanted with my baby sister— Kailie Valenntina Kern, my sister!

Tragic Waters

by Diana

HHHOOONNNKKK!  The boat was ready to leave the dock.  My whole family was ready, and so was I.  We were taking a small cruise to Mazatlan, Mexico.  Some of my relatives also joined us for the fun time we were about to have.

During the cruise, we explored many places, and we even saw families of adorable seals on rocks, and some were swimming.  We also saw enormous rocks, so big they looked like caves as we passed through them.  The view and sights we saw were fascinating to explore…as far as we all knew.

Before our exciting cruise came to an end, my dad decided to go finish up business before we arrived at the island.  Right before my dad could say a syllable, a fast-moving Coast Guard (water police) boat swished past us.  With the big waves it left, our boat tipped like the titanic hitting the iceberg.

“Aaaahhhh!” everyone yelled, and the next thing I knew, I slipped through the railing and splashed into the blue water.  I sank and sank as if it was sucking me in.  My dad came running and somehow hung from his feet trying to get me.  First I bobbed up, then I sank again, and then once I bobbed up again, my dad reached for me and caught my shivering hand.  As my heroic father lifted me, I felt overjoyed to have my soul with me and not lost in the gigantic sea.  My lovely mother was very glad to see me after the horrible accident, and so was I.

The fearful time sure was scary.  Every time I’m on a boat, the time I fell overboard comes to mind.  However, ten years have passed, and I think I no longer fear boats.  I feel much better now that my fear has decreased like an old, dead flower.  I am very lucky to have survived, thanks to my heroic father.

To Overcome Fear

by Antonio

“Yesssss! We’re going to Disneyland.  I have not been there in a million years!!!’’ I shouted. I zoomed to my room. Thankfully, I was at my grandparents’ house, where Disneyland was only an hour away.  I could not stop thinking about it, so I watched TV all night. I could not believe my uncle was taking me to Disneyland. The next day however, my uncle said, “Antonio, I’m so sorry. I just got the news I have work meetings for the next week so Disneyland will be delayed.’’

“O-okay I’ll just wait,’’ I replied.  Then I slid away.

The next week was finally here. I got up early and was ready to go. I could not bear waiting any longer.  When we got to Disneyland, all the rides were empty. You could even hear crickets while little balls of weeds rolled by. I rushed to the new and improved Star Tours ride. My jaw hit the ground. There must have been zillions of people there! I also saw a sign that said, “Two hour wait.” I darted into line before another person could come. The wait was agony. However, after it was my turn, I came out I came out a new man.

Just then, I saw a sign that said, “Do you have what it takes to ride the temple of doom?” I clearly stated to myself, “I’m definitely not going on that.”

Out of the blue, my uncle shouted over the noise, “Hey, Antonio, you have to try that out. I think you will like it. ’’

I was struck with horror. The only answer I could spit out was, “Ummmm, u-ummmm, sure, I’ll try it out. ‘’

I staggered back when my uncle said, “Cool, let’s head over there now.’’

When we got to the ride, the wait was thirty minutes. Every second, I despised and dreaded the moment when the ride would pull up. Just then, a little TV popped out of the corner and said, “You will experience the thrill of your life, facing deep drops and…….” My ears just blurred it out. I was overcome with fear. Then the ride chugged up and let out a huge cloud of smoke. I hopped on, and when I finally got comfortable, the ride took off.

The Temple of Doom was the coolest thing I’ve ever been on!!! There were arrows, boulders, and more, but they did embellish a bit on the television.

Now it was nightfall, and I was exhausted after a day in Disneyland. My legs were going to break if I stayed any longer. On the way home, I thought about how much fun I had and how I overcame my fear. Now it was my turn to bring my brother here and take him into the Temple of Doom. Then I fell asleep into a peaceful, undisturbed bliss, dreaming about returning to Disneyland the next day.

Car Crash

by T. J.

I was on the verge of death, but death couldn’t catch me. It was 2004, and it was around summer time. I was four years old.  My mom, Jennifer, along with my brother, Kevin; my sister, Jessica; and I were in my mom’s van. We had just returned from McDonald’s. I had an ice cream cone there. It only took about three minutes in the car until I was fast asleep.

Suddenly, there was a speeding flash of color, and I was flying through the air like a bird soaring. My family’s eyes saw everything.  There was the sound of glass shattering all over. I was propelled through a closed window and out of the van. I did not hear my sister screaming. All I heard were my dreams.

I woke up on the road. The thick bloody pavement was as hard as the moon. My head was split open. The blurry lights made me think it was all a dream. I got up off the ground. The car’s lights scared me. I started running around screaming. The yell of my mom saying, “TJ,” real loud like an elephant made me turn around. I ran and ran till I reached her.

My mom called 9-1-1 and then my dad. My dad came quicker than the ambulance. I was finally put into the ambulance. The neck brace they put on me was uncomfortable. I hated the itchy feeling.  It felt like poison ivy touching me and making me itch all over. My dad came with me to the hospital in the ambulance. Later my mom met me and my dad at the hospital.

My mom and dad pulled glass out of my face and my back for over three painful hours. I was admitted to the hospital for all kinds of tests. The doctors admitted me for the night for observation, too. They did that to make sure I did not have a concussion. I was released the next day with no internal injuries and no concussion, but only minor abrasions. I was lucky to be alive!

Last Year’s Personal Narratives from Students 11 – 21

The Tackle

by Sean

We come onto the field as they announce our names, the crowd roaring. We start the first quarter. We are on defense. I am playing on the far right. As the quarterback says, “Hike,” he hands the ball off my way. I tackle the receiver (the guy with the ball) with all my strength. I am happy that he didn’t get the touchdown and that we have four seconds till the end of the quarter.

As I walk by their team after my big play, I hear grunting. They are furious, but I don’t care. They are too weak to get me back. As we are almost to the end of the quarter, we hear the buzzer that means that we are at the end of the quarter.

However, we are still down by two points. We start the second quarter. We know we can win. We kick off and the ball soars in the air. My teammate runs as fast as a cheetah and tackles the runner with the ball as hard as a truck hitting a car.

I start off again. Players run my way as fast as cougars. I give it all I have and tackle the ball carrier. We won’t let them score. We think this in our heads. It is third down, and we are down by two points, but we won’t let them score.

I am ready, but as the other team’s quarterback says, “Hike,” I hear as loud as a gorilla a whistle. It’s a penalty on the defense. I think in my head, “Oh, no!” I hope the penalty isn’t on me.  It isn’t.  It is on my teammate. We didn’t care. It is still third down. We can stop them. We know we can, but it is too late! The buzzer sounds, and we lose, but we will win our next game!

The Race to Space

by Lindsay

“Buzz,” is the sound I heard as the buzzer beeps. That was our signal to start climbing. We had approximately five minutes. We were at the Science Museum in Tennessee, and I was going space climbing with my sister and dad. The race was on!

I took off so quickly I was a cheetah, all the wind rushing in my face and thinking about nothing except the top of the gigantic wall. Then it happened. I got stuck, and it was as though my cheetah-like features disappeared, and I became as lackadaisical as a sloth covered in sticky tree sap. My family members shot ahead of me like bullets and left me behind in a cloud of dust.

“Woo hoo! I could finally move!” I thought “Okay, it’s time to catch up to these guys.” Great, my dad had just made it to the top. Oh well, I could still beat Melissa, my sister. She was gum stuck to the bottom of my shoe now and just out of reach of the top, too! Now it was my turn to shine like the sun! I had no time to lose. Since my dad was done, he started messing around and having fun. I finally caught up and passed Mel.

“Yes!” I screeched. I got second place, which is still pretty good out of three people. Now I started to mess around as well. After awhile, Melissa finally became unstuck and was able to reach the top. There were a lot of puzzles along our trails so we started lowering ourselves down to look at them. They were tricky puzzles, but we found a way to do them anyway. We all started lowering down a bit, and this time it wasn’t on purpose; it was because our time was up.

It felt as though we were in a zero gravity zone. If you flew off the wall like I did, it really felt like you could glide through the continuous skies, even though after you got the harness on and before you got roped in, the harness weighed you down. After you were roped in, though, your feet were lifted from the ground like you were floating. When you were climbing to go up, you had to push down, and to go down, you had to push up. I know it may sound simple now, but this wall was not like any ordinary rock wall.  It didn’t have foot or hand holes so most of the time you were just hanging there. You still might think it was simple, but trust me, once you were buckled in, it got a lot more complex.

I will never, ever forget the two times I have been on that wall. I hope that next time I can beat my dad and get first place for a change. I wonder what it will take to be able to do that.  He is very quick climbing to the top.  Climbing is a fun experience that everyone can enjoy (as long as you’re at least sixty pounds).  Even if you can’t go that high up on the wall, it’s still enjoyable to hang and have fun. I cannot wait until next time for a third race to space!

Opening Night

by Sonia

Doo, doo-doo, doo; the music began as I stepped to the middle of the stage. I had been waiting for weeks for this night and this moment. The lights went out, leaving a single spotlight, a white fish in a black sea. It felt as if I was the only person in the room. I took a field trip in my mind and remembered all the times I had done this before; flawlessly. Take a deep breath; let your fears slip through my fingers, I reminded myself. The piano played faintly as it waited for me. I listened closely for my cues. Ready, set, go!

Before I knew it, I was moving my mouth and my body. I was like a singing and dancing robot. Then, the metal robot melted away, and there was me, or in this case, “Mac,” the con-artist. Box step; la, la, la; up; down; spin; tear up the stairs; and slide! “Razzle Dazzle,” done!

Perfect! I did it! Opening night was astonishing even though just before the show, my mind was the twilight zone, nervous and full of mixed emotions.  Once the first show was over, I was just happy.  Backstage the cast members of the show all said “good job!” as we instantaneously lined up for curtain call. I scampered on stage and took the final bow as I laughed and danced with all my friends. The show was supreme, and we had performed it, almost, perfectly.

Overall, I was overjoyed with the way my show turned out. I was so blissful I could have flown like a dove.  The only mistake that ended up being ideal was when I tripped over a step when I was getting on stage, which worked out because I was being chased, so that wasn’t really a mistake. I only stumbled on one line, and I won’t do that again. We all did an exceptional job. Let’s hope it’s just as great the next two times we perform the show!

Three weeks before the performance, I didn’t even know any of these people, and now they are my best friends! Additionally three weeks ago, it would have been a dream to stand in front of real, live people, sing a whole song and solo, and land the lead in a play. I guess that means dreams can come true! I’m so delighted it was this dream that came true!

A Great Surprise 2004

by Cole

Have you ever woken up and gone somewhere, having no idea where you were going? Well, that happened to me when I was six. It was a pleasant surprise, and I will remember that day forever. This was my great surprise, and I hope you like it.

“Wake up,” someone said as the world became a blur to me as I woke up in my clean, warm bed. I leaned over to the side of the bed and looked over at my dad patting me and saying, “Wake up.” I moaned and stretched, and then said, “Why?” When I checked the clock, it was only seven o’clock, and my eyes were still blurry so I squinted at the clock, but I could read it. “Yeah, okay,” I said, and then buried my head in the soft cloud-like pillow. My dad walked downstairs, and in a minute I got out of my bed, walked downstairs, had breakfast, got dressed, and watched some cartoons on the TV.

“Hey Cole, let’s get in the car for a little drive,” my mom said.

I looked at her and said, “Mom can’t I go some other time?” worried because I hated driving around.

“Just hurry up,” she said and got in the car.

I put on my shoes and headed to the car, but I saw my mom’s purse, and some tickets were sticking out, but I was quite young so I couldn’t really read some of the words. “Mom, what is that?” I asked.

“What?” she asked wondering what I was thinking.

“That piece of paper that’s poking out of your purse.”

She pounced, grabbed her purse, and pushed it back in. “All righty. Let’s go.” Dad started the car and we headed out.

To my surprise, we pulled up in front of Six Flags in Vallejo. My heart started racing like a cheetah running. Six Flags had monster rides and really cool games and prizes. We walked to a bus, and it took us right to the gates at the park entrance. We gave them the tickets, and entered Six Flags Park. I was only six, and I don’t remember everything I did that day, but I know I went to see sharks and sea animals at the aquarium, and I went on some little kid rides and a slow roller coaster that made clickety-clack noises.

Six Flags was full of surprises, and I really loved the butterfly and the reptile exhibits. The thing I hated was a monkey ride that was really fast, but I went again when I was ten and I really liked it. I remembered when my mom said we were going to Six Flags and my eyes popped open and my stomach twisted like my legs when I play Twister. I will remember that moment forever

The Old Greenwood Fair

by Brendan

“The games are now open!” someone announced on a loud speaker.

“Yes!!” I thought. I ran and came face to face with the Eliminator. The jumpy arena danced with air inside it. The red and blue colors mixed my sight to see a vivid purple. I stepped onto the air-filled arena and saw someone falling in slow motion.

“Winner,”I heard. I looked at the boy celebrating. I then stepped up and the battle began.

A swing here, a block there, and I felt myself almost being knocked off of my platform. My opponent let down his guard, and I speared him in the stomach. He fell back. I watched him hit the bouncy ground. He lay there motionless. Then suddenly, he got up. “Good game!” I said. I got off my platform and helped him up.

“Yeah, good game,” he said to me. “My name is Jake.”

“Mine’s Brendan.”

“Cool.”

“Want to play again?”

“Sure.” We played again, and it was as fun as winning a basketball championship game. There was jabbing and blocking, until finally Jake got me. I fell to the bouncy ground. Hard!!

“Nice hit,” I said to him.

“Thanks,” he said back.

”Want to go and get a shaved ice?”

“Sure,” Jake replied.

I chose blood-colored cherry flavor and so did Jake. We ate in the cool shade, quickly, so the shaved ice wouldn’t melt. We went swimming and then ate sugary tasting and sweet smelling cotton candy.  Soon, we went back to the Eliminator. We saw my dad and my sister playing in the air-filled arena. Jake and I played one more time.  By this point, we were both so good that we decided to call it a tie. “Here are your tickets,” the lady working at the Eliminator said.

“Tickets?” Jake and I looked at each other.

“You can use these at the prize booth,” the lady said with a smile.

“Cool!” we both said with excitement.  We ran at lightning speed over to the prize booth. I quickly picked out a blow-up guitar, ball, and bat. I didn’t know what Jake picked because he had to leave. We said goodbye, and I walked off to the Eliminator.

I again saw my dad and my sister brawling. My dad, of course, destroyed my sister. I stepped up to face my dad. He attacked here. I blocked there. He slashed this way…whoosh.  I defended that way. Then, he conquered me. I descended back, hitting the ground.

“At least I lasted longer than my sister,” I said to my dad.

“Hey,” my sister Bridget said. She continued, “I bet I could beat you on my first try!”

“You’re on!!” I answered with excitement. When our fight started, I made a quick jab to her stomach…whack.

“Hey!” I laughed, but then lost my balance and fell off my platform. My whole family laughed at my clumsiness and my sister’s third epic failure.

We were all sitting on our lounge chairs, relaxing when my mom announced, “It’s getting late. We should probably get going.”

“Okay,”  I said with disappointment. As we walked away from the pool area, with prizes in hand, I remembered something. I had made a new friend, one I could always go back to when I was lonely or bored at Old Greenwood.

Hotel Doorbell Ditching

by Mathew

RING! RING! the doorbell went, as my friend shouted, “Cleaning lady,” in a very high pitched voice.  We all dashed down the hallway at the speed of light, and then took a very sharp left down the gray, smelly stairs we went.

Did he catch us? Did he see us? All of these thoughts walked on my mind like it was a red carpet. The silence soon ended when someone walked on the floor right above us just as we heard some mad parents mumbling. A couple seconds after the mumbling stopped, we all broke out in laughter.

After doorbell ditching a little bit more, we went to the party down in room 126, 127, and 128. All the littler kids were watching Peter Pan and having candy. We stayed for a little, but then we realized we could take the candy with us, so we did.

I thought we were going to go doorbell ditching some more, but I guess not. One of my lacrosse teammates taught me how to fake naked. First you roll up your shorts so they look like short shorts. Then he directed me to pull my shirt over my shorts, and then run around screaming, “I’m naked! I’m naked!”

My friends and I started walking, when we heard a noise right behind us. We all turned around simultaneously. We saw a man; he was wearing a gray shirt that needed to be ironed. I was a little worried when he asked us for our room numbers, but I kept my mouth shut. When he wrote down our room numbers, I thought he was going to kill us. Then we were walking down the hallway, and I saw my room door start to walk open. I quickly jumped in with legs as long as the empire state building. It was if the hotel manager saw me, but he didn’t say anything. I was as safe as a dove.

My parents didn’t get mad, but I wasn’t going to risk getting kicked out of the hotel. So I thought I’d stay in this room where I couldn’t get in trouble. I thought this would be the last time I went doorbell ditching for a long time.

A Monkey for a Day

by Kayla

Click, whoosh, click, and SLAM! I fly into thick, warm air spinning in a wonder of screams and shrieks. I turn around and see the wall behind me, “Ahh!” I yell so loudly it is like the whole universe could hear me.

The room is filled with sweat and fear lingering around. “Easy does it,” I whisper as I sprint off the floor trying to reach the end. Ropes are grasped in my hands as I throw myself across the room. I am a bird soaring through the jungle. Splat! I am stuck in the middle of the jungle. I wait there patiently for a couple of minutes, and then the feeling of a tug hits me, and I fly back, landing on my back, like I am a small child slipping off the back of a swing.

I get strapped in for the big swing. My head feels as heavy as weights. I squeeze the cords as if they are sweating too. I take a big jump and fall. I twist and turn, getting dizzy. I prance off to the rock walls.

Suddenly someone on the microphone announces, “Someone forgot their belt buckle; come up here to receive it.” Sure enough it was me! I was as embarrassed as a seventh grader who dressed up as Barbie for Halloween.  Then I stroll over to the rock walls, this time with my belt buckle. I hoist myself up on one rock and climb to another. It is tough though it seems you have to be a monkey to accomplish climbing to the top of the rock wall. I chose to tackle the hardest wall that has a dent. Pulling up with my arms, I slip trying to reach a far up rock. I am stuck. I look down, which makes it seem like I am a giraffe reaching for a high plant, but I am nervous to go down. I am stuck for a long time when out of nowhere I jump and reach a rock. Climbing higher, I finally reach the top. I do not know how to go down, so I slip and fall; I am a terrified fish falling down a waterfall. When I hit the ground, I am as stretchy as a rubber band.

“Today was terrific,” I sigh, talking to the employee, but really inside it feels like I just got off the biggest drop in the world.  It feels almost as though my stomach slipped right out of me. I scurry out and start to laugh about my failures at Expedition Island. When a beeping noise resounds in my, ear I can hear my mom talking.

“Sweetheart, your friend, Bella, is having her birthday at Expedition Island.” When I hear that I laugh so hard I am crying. I am hoping that I will be more successful at the birthday party climbing expedition.

Lake Tahoe Disaster

by Julian

Swish, swoosh, crash!  I had fallen in the pale snow, dizzy and cold.  My grandpa slid down the mountain and carried me back to the top.

“Didn’t quite make it down the mountain again, huh?” asked my grandpa as he pulled me up the mountain.  I just shrugged my shoulders and tried again.  I started down the hill, and in a flash, I was going as fast as a motorboat on ice; then all my hopes went into a void.  I had crashed once again.

My legs were numb, twisted by the snowboard.  My mind was going crazy, and my entire body was sinking, all the way down to the underworld.  Getting colder and colder, deeper and deeper, and just when I felt as if I would freeze to death, my grandpa came to the rescue.

“Okay, Julian, you need lessons!” shouted my grandpa as he picked me up.  We walked to the lodge, and he put me down.  I sat on a table and waited.  After a couple of minutes, he came back…with a trainer.

“Grandpa!  I told you I don’t need a trainer!” I exclaimed.  He just stared at me and started walking away, so I followed my grandpa and my trainer.  All my family were already sliding down mountains, going up lifts, and doing tricks, but I had to take lessons.  My trainer taught me how to brake, slide, and all that other stuff.  After two long hours, I was finally done with the lesson!

I decided to go up the lift and go down the waking nightmare, the hill I’d always fallen on.  I got off the lift and strapped my feet onto the snowboard.  I gulped in the chilly air and swooped down the hill.  I was going down very swiftly, my snowboard a speeding racecar leading the pack.  I felt as if I were a leaf floating down off a tree.  I was gliding down the incline so firmly, but then CRASH!  Oh, No!  I had fallen once again, but this time no one was there to help me…but I didn’t need help this time.

I hoisted myself up and started back down the hill.  I made it down the slope without giving up this time.  I was glorious. After a while, I went down a bunch of hills without falling.  My grandpa came next to me and said, “Wow, Julian, you did better than all of us!”  I smiled, but then my smile disappeared when he said, “Okay, it’s time to leave.”  I let out a grumble, but then went to the lodge.  I got to my car, looked at all the snow, and thought to myself, “Today, I did better than a bunch of people.  I know this day is going to be remembered.”

Jet Ski Adventure

by Leana

Vroom! Vroom! The Jet Ski starts with my heart beating like I am going to die, knowing I’m with my uncle who is going to get us hurt. ”Are you ready?” my Uncle yells.

“No!” I scream! He takes off dramatically laughing.  I scream as loud as a roller coaster running down the tracks.

It all started off on a summer day on the north shore of Lake Tahoe with me driving the Jet Ski. I was taking it nice and easy, but before I knew it, my uncle reached around me and took over the control. I tried to look for someplace to hold onto.  I tried to tell my uncle to stop, but he just kept going. I had nowhere to hold onto, no seat belts, and water roughly splashing on my face. The water was even colder than ice cubes.

The Jet Ski was going so fast that the water started to look like it was a cartoon lake. It was like it wasn’t real to me. I got freaked out. The higher the speed of the engine went the more unreal the water looked.

What are the odds that the first time I drive the Jet Ski my uncle takes over? I knew I going to be fine and all, but it was kind of scary at first. After a while, I loved going that fast. I wanted to go again after a while.

Jet skiing is a time I will never forget. I had the time of my life with my Uncle Vince. I want to go Jet skiing again sometime. Next time my uncle says, “Are you ready?” I’ll say yes. I had a blast going jet skiing last summer.

River Rafting

by Alec

“Alec, wake up!” said my Nana loudly.  I opened my eyes and saw her with her bathing suit on.  I wondered what was going on. Then she said kind of quickly, “Get on your bathing suit and get down to the lobby. We are going RIVER RAFTING!”  I immediately got my bathing suit on and went down the elevator to the lobby and got ready for the long drive to the river.  Gustavo, our guide, told us it would take us a few hours to get to the river because we had to cross several security posts and the road was very windy.

When we got to the river, all I heard was the crushing sound of the enormous rapids nearby.  The river guides explained to us about the safety rules.  While we waited for our raft to be inflated, we all started to get a little nervous not knowing what we were in for. Honduras in the summertime is hot, humid, and wet.  We welcomed the long river raft experience with its bold rapids, dangerous curves, bulging rocks, and cool water splashing on us.

As we swirled towards our first set of rapids, all we heard was “boom,” “crash,” “bang,” “splash,” and the sound of people going, “Wahoo.”  It felt like you were in a Jeep going on the roughest road ever!  But it was outrageous! Sometimes it felt scary because we were on an inflatable raft, so it felt as if it were going to POP! But the raft didn’t.  At one point, our raft was so close to hitting a rock that the rapids took over and helped us to dodge the rocks.

As we went further down the river, we decided to do some dumb stuff like jumping off of the rafts.  Another reason we jumped off of the rafts was because it became extremely hot.  On the river in Honduras, there are a lot of dense forests and big hills, so we were sort of in the middle of nowhere.  We saw corn fields, crows, and hawks.  One of the Honduran birds was the Blue Crowned Cholophonata, which is green and yellow.

When we came to the end of our extreme “adventure,” we got the rafts out of the water.  After we had packed up, we went to lunch in a little village for lunch.  After we had full stomachs and couldn’t eat anymore, we gave the leftover food to the local villagers and left to go back to the hotel.  It was an amazing day filled with fun and adventure.  It is an awesome experience that I will never forget.

Poultry Memories

by Talia

Cluck! “First place goes to…” Welcome to the Cloverdale Fair! One of my favorite memories was the 2010 Cloverdale Fair. It all started one morning in February. My mom and I got up very early because we had to be in Cloverdale by seven in the morning to check in my chickens for the fair. It was a damp, cold, foggy morning when I went out to my coop to get my chickens. We put the chickens in their transport cages and then loaded them into the back of the car. Then we got into the car and started our long drive to Cloverdale.

When we arrived at the fairgrounds, we noticed the there was already a long line of people waiting to check in their chickens. After we got through the long line and got to the chicken barn, my friend Emily showed up. I was as excited as a dog with a new bone when I saw her. Emily was my B.F.F.

A little while after that, confirmation judging had begun. Confirmation is when the animal gets judged on how it looks. So while our chickens were being judged, Emily and I went on some awesome carnival rides. When we came back, all the chickens had been judged! I didn’t look at my chickens’ results because I wanted to wait until the end of the day and be surprised.

After that, we were getting ready for showmanship. Showmanship is when you show the 4-H animal that you raise. In poultry showmanship, you have to examine your bird in front of a judge and show the judge how well you have trained your bird. Additionally, you are judged by how well you handle the bird.

After we were all ready, Emily and I waited, and then came the booming voice over the loudspeaker, “We will now begin showmanship,” said the poultry judge. After the announcement, we had to wait even longer because the class was so HUGE they had to split it into two groups.

I wasn’t very happy because now I had to wait even longer because I was in the second part of the class. Emily was lucky because she was in the first part of the class. So I waited and waited until my hand was extremely tired from holding my heavy, feathered friend Willow (my showmanship chicken). My hand was also as moist as a soaked paper towel from Willow’s warm body.

Finally, it was my turn. I did my best. I used my poultry knowledge and I had fun! Then Emily and I waited along with the other exhibitors for the results. While I was waiting, I was so excited! I felt I had a good chance to win my first poultry showmanship class because I had practiced so much for this day.

Soon we heard the announcement, “Now we will announce the winners.” I waited as the judge began by announcing the exhibitor who got ninth place, and then she worked her way to the second place winner. I got nervous because I knew some kids were not going to get a ribbon, and I hoped that it would not be me because my name had not been called yet. Then finally I heard, “First place goes to Talia Morones!” The judge gave me a glowing review of my showmanship skills and poultry knowledge. I was both shocked and happy when I heard this. I had never won before, and I was both honored and grateful to finally win first place! Soon after this amazing news, it was time for the award presentation for the poultry confirmation. I had been waiting for this all day, and I wondered how my chickens had done. There were a lot of awards. I was called up for awards again and again until I finished my day with three medals, four big shiny, satin champion ribbons, and countless smaller first place ribbons.  My mom said, “I think you did really great,” and I had to agree.

In the end, I had so much fun! I was calm and relaxed, and I did my best at the chicken show, and I won! My chickens did great! I had an awesome time with my friends. I couldn’t believe how smoothly everything had gone that day. It felt like it was my day! This was why the 2010 Cloverdale fair was one of the best memories of my life so far, and maybe forever!