My name is Payton DeCook and my ultimate goal is to become a champion diver at the college level. I cannot wait to go to college and be surrounded by amazing athletes who have put in countless hours of training to become strong, fit and eager to win. I know that true dedication and passion has led me as well as others into the position we are in at this very moment.
For as long as I can remember, I have been flipping my body upside down and walking on my hands instead of my feet. When travelling with my parents on vacation, I could not stop myself from doing flips in the middle of large crowds. I had endless energy with a strong desire to perform and throw my body into the air. This yearning has not stopped. I dream of diving during the day and picture myself executing the dives I have learned in my head. I absolutely love this sport and find it fascinating that within such a short amount of time, I have been able to master some very difficult dives. I attribute much of my success to how I train. I yearn to train and want more practice than those around me. I realize that I am different in this way because my coaches as well as my parents think it is a unique quality that I possess. I love my friends, family and school of course, but if I could train most of the day to become a better diver, I would do it. I feel that I have a very strong ability to focus in practice as well as at competitions. I know how important focus is to be successful. This is something that does separate me from others my age. I am proud that I have this capability.
I feel blessed that I have experienced so many stressful situations. Even at birth, I had to fight to stay alive because I was born 11 weeks premature and could barely breathe on my own. At one time, I was a highly competitive gymnast that worked out 6 days a week and competed all four events, including balance beam, which was very stressful and scary, to say the least. I had to work through my fears and flip on a four- inch wide beam, praying that I would land safely. I competed and still to this day compete AAU club track where I have participated in the Junior Olympics in front of thousands of people. I am proud to say that I was a Regional and State champion in the long jump 2 years in a row. The rush I have felt when hearing my name on the stadium loudspeaker while competing is a feeling I will never forget. Knowing that my teammates are counting on me to be the fastest I have ever been that day brings the kind of pressure that motivates me to push even harder that I believe I can. Stress can be good and I feel that these situations have helped me grow as a person and as an athlete. I know that when something gets tough, I can handle it. I can always figure out a way to make things work in my favor, if I try.
I am so excited to continue this journey in my life. I have big dreams that I know can become a reality because I have already accomplished so much. I know what it takes to be the best and am willing to put forth any kind of work to make it happen. Life is precious and what we do with our lives is so important. I want to stand for something big so I can be a role-model for others. I am so ready to work hard, support my team, have a positive attitude and be the best person I can be.