Posted on | August 30, 2012 | 2 Comments |
Today I want to share a story. A heartwarming story. Of children. Even when they were in a competitive environment.
Here I was sitting, inside the gym, watching M practice for her first competition. Her group was on the bars and I was ready with my video camera. M wanted to see her moves and daddy wants to see what Emma can do nowadays. Before the girls warmed up on the bars, their coach came by and directed. The girls nodded and the coach went away to judge another group. I saw a perplexed look on my daughter’s face. It wasn’t obvious but as her mom and somebody who’s taken gazzillion photos of her, I could see. M’s turn came about and she circled up. She did few back hip circles and then a pause. Then she forward hip down. “Hmmmm”, I thought. Then it was her go again. The same thing. A second “hmmmm” from me and I noticed that a few of her gym friends noticed too. The third time came around and one of the girls confronted M before she went. I couldn’t hear what they all said but I could see Emma refusing. Then I saw more girls speaking and the volume went up a notch. “Come on, Emma, you can do it!” “You got to give it a try! You’re not going to fall!” “Come on, Emma!” “Emma, just go!! You know you can do it!” (and a slight push towards the bars). So my daughter sighed and agreed. She got to the bar and stood there for a few seconds. In the background there was “Go, Emma!” and four little girls holding their hands together under their chins (maybe holding their breath too). So M jumped onto the low bar. Did her routine there and a pause. “Come on M, you can do it!” I whispered. And then she continued. She squatted on to the low bar, jumped onto the high bar, did her routine and jumped off. The second M landed, four little girls cheered and clapped and I could see M relaxing and smiling towards her friends. If I was home, I’d probably start crying my head off. It was just the sweetest thing and I am so glad that Emma’s working with such wonderful girls.
The girls did a few more practice on the bars after that and each time M became more and more confident. She’s never done this on her own you see. Her coach was always there to spot her. Most of the bar routine is completely new to her and she just got the hang of it a few weeks ago. Emma’s confidence level has gone up since she started gymnastics and piano but when it comes to new things, she’s always a bit more hesitant.
Emma’s been in gymnastics for 13 months now. In just over a year she’s managed to learn things like: Cartwheels on beam, back hand spring, and squatting on a bar. In US level term, she’s between a level 4 and 5, although she can do a baby giant, which is a level 6 move. This coming Sunday is M’s first real competition, UK county level 5. At first her coach wasn’t going to put M in any competition, since she just moved into the development program in February, but her coach decided to give M a chance (more for the experience than a medal — M’s very inconsistent right now due to her newness) and after working very hard the last six weeks and showing great improvements, M will get to see what it’s like to perform in front of a few hundred people.