click the link above ^^
I listen to the audio from this video every few days and watch it every once and a while. It’s incredibly inspirational for gymnasts and would like to share the inspiration it gives me with other gymnasts.
I wrote this as a response to a question on a “Student Brag Sheet” I have to complete to request Teacher Recommendations at school. My response was about gymnastics so I thought I’d post it here and see if I inspired anyone with it. Enjoy.
*1. What event or activity (positive or negative) has had the most significant impact on you in your life and shaped you as a person and why?
This is a difficult question for me to answer. I either don’t remember the significant events of my life or there simply haven’t been very many. Yes I learned how to play the piano at a rather young age, yes I learned how to play the piano at a rather young age, yes I got promoted from 8th grade, yes I’ve received many awards for academic achievements; but I don’t feel as if they’re going to have a tremendous impact on the rest of my life. Maybe that’s me being cynical about how human life is basically pointless and one day our bodies are going to decompose in the ground somewhere or be turned into ashes. Furthermore, eventually every person that we knew is going to die as well and most of us are going to be forgotten. What that means to me is that we have to make the best of our lives here on earth because the purpose of our lives is to make US happy. We have many choices in things that can make us happy whether it be learning, teaching, cooking, athletics, music, murdering people (ignore that last one unless you’re a sociopath; and then still ignore it), or many other things. One of those things that makes me happy is gymnastics and I feel like my involvement in the sport has forever changed me.
I started gymnastics when I was about 7.5 years old and ever since I’ve absolutely loved it. When I was around 10 or 11 I remember being scared to do a skill and my coach, who to this day I know only as “Coach Dave” told me that he wouldn’t ask me to do the skill if he didn’t know I was ready to do it. I did my round-off two back handsprings that day and to this day I’ve remembered his words and have used them to push myself in my gymnastics even though I’ve long since lost contact with him and haven’t been to that gym in 6 years. My coaches over the years have told me a lot of things like that that I feel have shaped me as a person and have made me the optimistic, trusting person that I am.
In 6th grade I moved gyms from Gymminy Kids to the Magdelena Ecke YMCA Gymnastics Center so I could begin competing instead of just doing gymnastics recreationally and this was a big change for me; it meant more hours, better time management, and giving up taking piano lessons while also adjusting to middle school. I’ll always remember one moment on my first day of practicing on the competitive team. My hands were extremely sore from REALLY doing uneven bars for the first time and I was crying. My coach at the time, Halyee Brown (whom I am still friends with), turns to me and tells me to suck it up. It was the first time that I’d ever been told anything like that; but you know what, I pushed through and came back to practice the next day ready to work. Some practices were easy and some were hard, but quitting gymnastics never even crossed my mind. The determination that gymnastics requires helped me with my studies throughout middle school and now in high school. I hold a very high standard of myself and don’t accept anything less than perfect—which is the goal in gymnastics—and this is reflected in my school work. This is why I’ll stay up into the wee hours of the morning doing homework averaging a mere 3.5 – 4 hours of sleep a night. I cannot stand the thought of not getting my work done, it’s absolutely appalling to me and I feel like I may physically harm myself if I don’t; getting my work done is that important to me. I know this probably isn’t healthy, but this is my life and I’ll live it as I chose doing what I think is important. I also feel like this will make me an exceptional employee when I do eventually get a job.
As middle school progressed I watched my gym’s team expand in size very quickly while most of my teammates quit. I didn’t understand how they could even want to quit, gymnastics was so much fun! Yes it is a lot of work and a huge commitment, but in my eyes it is totally worth it. I steadily increased my training hours as middle school progressed and I moved up in level in gymnastics. Once in high school my hours increased yet again and have stayed relatively similar since 9th grade. This was when my late homework nights began. High school has been a test of my bubbly and optimistic personality and it’s survived. I get up each day with only a couple hours of sleep and I face school and four hours of gymnastics with a smile and determination.
When I was a sophomore disaster struck though. To set the stage, I’d reached a pretty high level in gymnastics and was doing some difficult skills. To put it in perspective, the people in the Olympics are called Elite gymnasts. They are the top level 10 gymnasts (as there are 10 levels in gymnastics in the USA). I was training to compete level 9 that year. Now, to explain my “disaster”. While training a double back on floor in October 2011 I landed incredibly, incredibly short inside a crack between some mats. This compressed my left ankle tremendously. To explain the direction, this forced my ankle bone back into the other bones in my leg and my toes toward my shin. I was in so much pain after this crash I couldn’t even feel my ankle and foot, imagine that. I didn’t think this injury was going to potentially end my career as a gymnast, but it nearly has and still may.
I was on crutches for a month after that crash and I slowly worked my way back into full training and I competed that competition season starting in January 2012 as a level 9. Unfortunately, I couldn’t escape the plague of crashing though. Over the summer in July when I started training double backs again I hit the bottom of the foam pit at another gym with my left ankle. This resulted in a similar injury to what I’d done nearly 9 months earlier. This time though my ankle didn’t recover and after getting an MRI and discovering a torn posterior tibial tendon in my left ankle I was put in a walk boot for 6 weeks. Meanwhile, my gymnastics team went through a major split when one of my coaches was fired and she opened her own gym taking most of my teammates in my level range with her. Not everyone was given the choice to leave, but I was and this was probably the biggest decision of my life to date. The fact that I was chosen out of many other girls was both troubling and very significant for me, I felt like the other girls were being treated unfairly and I wasn’t really comfortable with that—all my life I’d been told life isn’t fair but this was one of the first times that I really saw that idea in action and that was an important life lesson for me—also, I was finally getting recognized even though I was by no means the most talented at the gym and while conflicted over me being singled out, I liked it. To get back on focus, I had to choose between the place that had been my home for 5.5 years, being a role model, and being with one group of friends; and stepping into the unknown, being with a different group of friends, and taking my gymnastics to the next level. (Pause for extreme emphasis here.) The day after I got my walking boot off I moved to Coastal Gymnastics Academy (CGA) and I have never regretted my decision. The environment at the YMCA was toxic to put it in my coach’s terms. The team was too large to accommodate the high level gymnasts like myself and we were being pushed to the way side. Also, we had a coach that both chose favorites and put us and our gymnastics down. While I didn’t receive the brunt of this because the coach seemed to like me enough I hated how he treated some of my friends.
While I love CGA I have unfortunately not been able to enjoy CGA to the full extent yet. Not long after getting my walking boot off I was put back in it for 8 more weeks, and then 8 more weeks. I saw 4 different doctors and none of them could tell me exactly what was wrong with my ankle other than the torn tendon (which after a second MRI in April 2013 hadn’t healed at all). As a result, I spent the majority of my junior year of high school in a walking boot and haven’t been able to do three of the four events of women’s gymnastics for over a year. This has really set back my training as I aspire to be a college gymnast and at this point in time I will not get the opportunity although things are looking up.
In June this year my dad sent my medical file to a sports ankle doctor in Vail, Colorado. The doctor by the name of Doctor Thomas Clanton immediately knew what was wrong. The Tuesday after school got out I was in Vail for an evaluation and the next day I had ankle surgery to repair the tendon, remove a large floating piece of cartilage, and remove a large number of bones spurs from the front of my ankle. I’m currently recovering from this surgery still, but as of November 1st have approximately two more months of rehab and then I can go back to full training. This is why I say things are finally starting to look up even though two months from now is January and my team actually has a meet in December this year.
This ordeal has really been a test of my willpower because I could have easily given up and quitted gymnastics due to frustration with my ankle (and my bars which is a whole other story). But I didn’t. I chose to push through because I want to do gymnastics THAT much. It’s THAT important to me. The mental and physical strength I’ve gained from this ordeal is something that will influence me for the rest of my life and while I don’t like the idea of being thankful for my injury I can’t help but me appreciative of some of its effects on me.
Now, for my bars story. I’ve never been very good at uneven bars. For years at the YMCA I’d gotten by with sub-par bars work because that was what was allowed by the bars coach who was more concerned with developing people of strong character than good gymnastics; after all, it is a YMCA. My first problem was with a skill called a kip cast handstand. This is a basic bars skill you learn in level 6 and 7; however, I never learned it. My old coaches had basically given up on me ever learning it and just let me get by doing things I was good at (which is how I got so good at bars dismounts and can do an Elite level one better than some of Elites). At CGA though, my new coach wouldn’t let me simply get by and we spent 9 months of me being injured counteracting 4 years of bad habits on my cast. I got my kip cast handstand just before school got out when I had surgery. This is one of my biggest accomplishments to date and I’m still tremendously happy thinking about it. I’ve had ups and downs with my cast since because I had to train with a walking boot on after my surgery and I’m still not as strong and consistent in doing them as my teammates (and I still get yelled at weekly for not hitting handstands) but the important thing is I CAN do it and I didn’t give up along the way.
Now that I have my kip cast handstand and I’m no longer in a walking boot I’m allowed to do more skills. However, this comes with a lot of fear issues. Problems with fear can make or break a gymnast. Some of my teammates have come close to quitting because they are so scared of skills. This sport is 10% physical and 90% mental. There aren’t many other sports you can say that about. Anyway, now that I am allowed to do bigger skills on bars I’ve run into a couple fear issues. Up until about a month ago I had a skill consistently, but after one faulty turn I’ve been reduced to the most basic compulsory level skill leading up to the one I had do to fear. I’m slowly working my way back up to the skill I had, but it’s going to be a long (or short if my coach has anything to say about it) and difficult road. Similarly, I’m very scared to do another skill in which I transition between the bars. I’ll do the skill with a large number of mats behind the low bar, but not without the mats. I can’t have these mats behind the bar all the time especially when during normal rotations and I’ve been kicked off uneven bars several times for not going for the skill because I’m too scared to go without mats. I’ve been working the skill with the mats on my own time and during other events recently though and I grow more confident every day. My coach told me I have great potential on bars and I believe him. His statement of his belief in me drives me to work hard at practice every day.
These fears have recently driven me to find and develop a lot of inspirational quotes. These quotes have become the words I live by and they’ve helped me in going for the second skill tremendously. The confidence and inspiration the quotes bring me is something I adore and love bringing to my teammates. This has really solidified to me what type of person I am, an irrepressible, positive one that likes to help others.
Being a competitive gymnast has also forced me to give up many of the experiences “normal” high schoolers go through. I haven’t been a part of school sports or clubs. I haven’t gone to most school functions. I haven’t made a lot of close friends nor had a boyfriend in school (unless you count having one over the summer before the 2013-2014 school year, but he came second to gymnastics anyway). However, I don’t feel as if I’ve given up anything. Instead I’ve replaced those experiences with something different and in my opinion better. My team has become my family over the past year and even before then. My teammates are like my sisters and my coaches are like a second set of parents. I can never forget how they have supported me over my career as a gymnast and how they’ve shaped me as a person, teaching me about community, love, and determination. This is why out of any experience I’ve had in my 17 years the activity that has shaped me as a person the most is being a competitive gymnast.
So it’s been a while since I posted. Like a long while, and apologize. But life just got away from me, and I really should be doing homework right now anyway (heehee…).
Anyway, I have news!
I HAD SURGERY TO FIX MY ANKLE!
Dr. Thomas Clanton at the Steadman Clinic in Vail, Colorado performed the surgery. I had the tear in my posterior tibial tendon in my left ankle sewn back together, a large floating piece of cartilage removed from the joint, and a large number of bone spurs removed from the front of my ankle. This surgery was performed on June 12, 2013.
About a month after the surgery I could walk with a walking boot.
Once school started in August I could walk without a walking boot and had started physical therapy both on land and in water. On August 13th I received two ankle braces from Dr. Clanton. One to be worn everyday while walking around and one to be worn when I do bars at gymnastics.
Once I could walk with my walking boot and no crutches I went back to gymnastics practice. I do bars and strength the whole practice.
On November 1st (after Dr. Clanton was called out of town just before my first appointment date) I received the go ahead to start progressing into basic gymnastics skills with no impact on my ankle and possibly start using the tumble track and trampoline. I will also start small jumping movements and running soon at physical therapy. At this time I was also told that in approximately 2 months I will be able to return to full gymnastics training given that my ankle no longer hurts. If I am able to do 10 single leg calf raises on my left foot without pain to the same height as my right foot I will be cleared to begin training again. At this time I can already do 10 calf raises not quite to the same height with a bit of pain, so I am optimistic.
My coach has given me ankle strengthening exercises along with my physical therapy exercises. We both know at this point my biggest problem is going to be moving too fast and trying new skills before my ankle is ready.
My ankle swells if I do not wear my compression brace all the time (as my coach recommended to improve the strength of my ankle) and it throbs sometimes and still has pain during movement sometimes, though this usually occurs when the joint is cold. However, all swelling and pain is far less than before and I cannot thank Dr. Clanton enough for his diagnosis and surgery. It is finally a possibility that I can live my dream of being a college gymnast.
Thank you for readings lovelies!
My gym’s website launched today! If you live in the Vista, California area and are looking for a dedicated, hardworking, team-centric gym click on the link above. I don’t know the schedule for classes, but there should be one available on the website. Classes for levels 1-3 as well as classes for younger children are available. There is also a competitive team for levels 7-10 (of which I am a part of) and TOPS. Check us out!
It’s been forever since I’ve posted on here and I’m so so so sorry about that! But, I do come bearing news, so enjoy. :)
Last, very important thing(s) now:
Hopefully I’ll know what’s going to happen soon so I can plan according.
By for now. Love y’all! ♥
3 rips and 2 blisters in two days, gotta be some sort of record. 😉 #gymnastics #blister #rip #record #workinghard #ohyeah #ilovebars
I’m super excited for next week! Wuhoo!
I have an announcement!
I’m getting my boot off on Tuesday, which is tomorrow!
I’m super excited to get back into some more normal training, but I’m going to miss working out, I really enjoy it.
For the past month or so I’ve been going to normal gymnastics practice for two hours on Monday, Friday, and Saturday to do some strength and work bars. On Tuesday and Thursday I’ve instead been going to a YMCA and working out with stationary bikes, rowing machines, and other arm strength machines.
Depending on what my ortho actually says there might be further complications though, like surgery, so I’m waiting for my actual appointment before I say anything further.
Among other gymnastics news, I’ve started working gienger drills on bars. When I have a chance to transfer (hopefully within the next few days) the videos from my iPod I’m going to post them to YouTube, but unfortunately school’s been crazy. I have a video of the drill I’ve been working for giengers as well as two of my attempts, but my attempts aren’t very good yet. I’m too far from the bar and I’m also too low. Unfortunately, I haven’t really gotten very much formal instruction on how to do a gienger as my head coach is in Ireland right now and I don’t believe he’s going to be back until the end of the month. That being said, any help at all regarding this skill is greatly appreciated.
Also, I’ve been visiting my friends that are now going to a new gym with my old coach Ellie. They’ve been training in the new facility for about two weeks and are still missing some equipment and mats, but there’s enough to train effectively. I’ve helped set up some equipment for the other girls as well. I miss the girls soo much because they’re my best friends, but I normally go over once a week and I text and SnapChat them all the time. I can’t wait to see what competition season brings them and myself. :)
So, that’s all until tomorrow guys. See Ya!
Sparkly yellow nails from the sleepover at Seawind!! (Taken with Instagram at Magdalena Ecke Family YMCA Gymnastics Center)