When The Hare competed last season for a new gym, she gave enough to get by, but her heart just wasn’t in a full hundred percent. The families and coaches were wonderful to work with, engaging and encouraging. The environment absolutely promoted professionalism and a strong work ethic. However, by the end of the season, my daughter was ready to go back to what felt more like home. She missed what was familiar and comfortable and the people who knew her the best.
I was sad to go, but understood her dilemma. I had made new friendships I had hoped would last a while and I could see so many good things for us if we stayed. Yet I’ve loved many of the people at the gym we started at too, they still felt like family. But like many families, sometimes, you think you need a break from each other. Of course, when you take that break, you often see that what you had is what you needed all along. Although we came running back, it was not a wasted season. Being separated from them was a time for growth, I think – it gave The Hare (and me) an opportunity to see other coaching perspectives, meet new families and see what other options are in the gymnastics arena. It also highlighted our strengths and weaknesses as an athlete, parents of an athlete and as a teammate too.
We are halfway through this season, competing with our original gym. Recently, we competed at a meet hosted by last year’s gym. The Hare struggled for days with anxiety. She worried she would not be treated kindly by her previous teammates. Her fear was that the competitive nature of the event would cloud the day, darken the friendships she had made and make it uncomfortable to see them again. The anxiety was so high she hardly slept the night before the competition.
But from the moment we entered the building, to the moment we left the parking lot, every person, whether a teammate, coach or parent, greeted her with a smile and open arms. The Hare was hugged and encouraged as if she had never left. Even in the heat of competition, true sportsmanship and admiration were present. These gymnasts – these little girls who undoubtedly will be future leaders – surrounded my daughter, baring gifts of unconditional love and support regardless of what color competition leotard she wore.
Their praise had nothing to do with my daughter the teammate, but everything to do with my daughter the person.
Just one more reason why I love this sport.