It’s a time for new beginnings in our household. My 15-year-old daughter has been a competitive gymnast with a club program in the USA league since she was five years old. A week ago, after much thought and contemplation she decided it was the end of the road after ten years.
So why do I feel a sense of loss, enough to write about it? This decision is not about me at all. Then I realized it has been ten years for me too. I’m allowed to feel a little sad.
Of course as parents we encouraged her to give it some time, maybe she was just experiencing a dry spell. That’s common for athletes. She even wrote down the pros and cons. Some of the cons were injuries, time commitment, cost, and on the pro side discipline, fitness benefits, camaraderie with teammates, and travel. She came back to us and was certain that she was ready to move on. I’m by no means disappointed because I know she gave it her all for as long as she could. She was never forced, it was all on her own. We just wanted to be sure she was making an informed well thought out decision.
I’m not one of those parents who lives vicariously through their children. No really, I’m not. I’m just a supportive parent who is there for her children 110%. That’s just what we do as parents, right.
I have grown to love the sport and I’ll miss our road trips to the meets. The last year or so it was just she and I, since my other children have their own activities now. Parents have to divide and conquer when you have multiple children involved in sports. You know how that is. It’s work developing young people but oh so rewarding. My husband managed basketball and I oversaw gymnastics.
We attended the Kellogg’s Tour of Gymnastics Champions in May 2013 in St. Louis just for fun. It was spectacular! Check out these photos from the show. They aren’t the best photos, but you get the gist.
McKayla Maroney, Gabby Douglas and Jordyn Wieber
I’m not completely surprised that the decision came at this point in her life. Gymnasts have a limited amount of time to take part in school sports, and their social life suffers at times due to 12-16 hours of practice a week. Another factor in this decision is that she decided that college level gymnastics was not for her. Plus she still had some skills to develop to be considered for a college team.
So here are my confessions. I was looking forward to seeing her in the snazzy new sparkly team leotard and warm up this season. I was also looking forward to seeing her new floor routine. It was pretty funky and exuded confidence. She’s a great dancer. She worked with a new choreographer this summer to create it. Most of all, I will miss seeing her soar through the air doing back hand spring after back hand spring topped off with a back tuck. I was always so impressed. She’s come a long way from that little girl who used to do cartwheels and round offs all over the house.
On the other hand, I am so excited for her because the possibilities are endless (she’s a straight A student). She’s looking forward to feeling connected at school and actually having time to participate in school activities. This is the first of many tough decisions that she will make throughout her life. Gymnastics has taught her a number of valuable life lessons, and has served it’s purpose. She worked hard and achieved some great milestones during her journey. She came in FIRST in the vault for her age division last year in the state.
I’m looking forward to having more time with my girl. She’ll be going off to college before you know it.
She plans to join the track team this spring. She’s an athlete, and I’m sure she’ll do just fine.I know she’ll continue to soar in other areas of her life. I can’t wait to see what the future holds. The best part about this is, she is 15 and it’s just the beginning. Thank God for new beginnings.
Peace and Blessings,