Conquering Twenty-Two Thousand New Yorkers
As I sat at the piano patiently waiting, I could feel the harsh beams of the lights coming from the rafters hundreds of feet above me. A trickle of sweat, caused either by the bright fluorescent lights or my nerves, slowly crawled down my back. In the background of the crowd’s cheers, I could hear the announcer speaking, but the words just weren’t registering in my brain, I was in a state of shock. Unaware of my surroundings and feeling quite nauseous, I was finally awoken by the blaring of music coming out through the speakers. As the individual standing beside me began to sing, I desperately searched for my friends and family in a sea of people, but all I could find was the piano sitting right in front of me. Never in my life had I felt so alone. Never in my life had I felt so scared. Never in my life had I felt so sick.
As the first singer finished his song, the announcer woke me out of yet another one of my trances by exclaiming to the audience with his thunderous voice that it was my turn to sing.
Twenty thousand New York Knicks fans (whose main reason for coming was not me or any of the other performers) surrounded me. The last performer had music playing for him so he didn’t have a choice when he wanted to start singing. Me, it was just the piano, the microphone, and myself. I could sit at the piano for as long as I wanted and no music would come out unless I played it. I was terrified.
Desperate for some inspiration, I gazed out to the crowd one last time and to my surprise, was able to locate my family and friends. Feeling as lonely as ever, without any regard for what I looked like, I vigorously waved to my supporters in an attempt to get their attention. The feeling that came over me when they waved back is indescribable. Suddenly I felt invincible.
“Okay Teddy, ready when you are buddy,” the voice boomed.
Locating my family and friends made me feel I wasn’t alone anymore. I remember telling myself,
“So what if I messed up on the piano, or my voice cracked, or I sang the wrong words. Who cares if I make a fool out of myself in front these people? Out of the twenty-two thousand people here who am I ever going to see again? Just my family and friends who are here to support me no matter what, so let’s do this.”
I was finally ready to risk looking like a fool in front of thousands of strangers. I was finally ready to compete against the other two performers for the prize of five hundred dollars. I was finally ready to perform at halftime of a New York Knicks’ basketball game at the world famous Madison Square Garden. I was finally ready… Okay, three, two, one, go.