Leah has been training in competitive gymnastics for 2.5 years without ever competing. This past weekend was her very first meet, although she didn’t get to do the floor exercise, she did her best in the three other events (Beam, Vault & Uneven Bars).
As a parent, I was thrilled that she has stuck with it…the grueling 15 hours conditioning she does a week, the late nights of practice when she starts school at 7 a.m., the events she misses while she’s at practice. I am thrilled that the siblings endured all the trips to the gym, the waiting, the half day long meet to watch her perform a minute and half routine, and the hour long award ceremony without complaining. Being in a competitive sport is a family affair, it doesn’t just affect the participant, that’s the main reason why I tell my kids to pick a sport and expect to stick with it for a while. We are all invested in each other (kind of like a Presidential Candidate).
This sport has been a learning experience for my husband too, he didn’t experience childhood with a sibling nor the dedication of a parent to get you to/from practices and pay all the heavy fees. I’m probably more open to the realities of kids and sports because I was a competitive baton twirler for 13 years and then coached a team for another 10 years. Much of who I am today is largely in part to those experiences…when I want to give up on so many adult things (like parenting, career, marriage, my BOOK) I remember what I went through and what I overcame to be the best baton twirler my high school ever saw…no lie, at least that’s what my band director said 20 years later.