I'm writing a blog
When someone suggested I write a blog for our website, I asked them if they were crazy. First, who cares what I think about gymnastics or anything else for that matter? Second, I am no writer. Third, fourth, fifth….so many reasons not to do it. Or let’s be real – excuses.
The truth is, I do find that occasionally, I have something to say. Problem is, as an introvert, saying things isn’t my best skill set. Now, I know there are many of you who just said WHAT? An introvert? I’ll admit that I have had some success pretending to be an extrovert. As a business owner, you kinda have to. But again, not my greatest skill.
So, I’m gonna write a blog. Now – what to write about? It’s not that I don’t have lots of thoughts rumbling around in my mind. That’s a given. But which to share and what is purposeful? So today I am going to write
As a young child I watched gymnastics on the Olympics and REALLY wanted to do it. I begged and begged but my dad was a hard no on that. I don’t remember asking why but as an adult, we have talked about it a few times. In fact, it’s one of the things he says he regrets as a parent. Especially seeing where I am now. He was just scared that I was going to break my neck. A sentiment I have heard from more than a few parents in my career. So, I moved along. I played T-ball for a year. Hated it. Got enrolled in dance. Hated it. I needed something much faster paced. Fast forward to middle school and my mom suggests I try out for the cheerleading squad. Yeah right… INTROVERT. But I said yes and tried out in 7th grade. Didn’t make it. Woo hoo! BUT I found out that girls who had gymnastics backgrounds were more likely to make the team so I thought to myself, “this is how I get to do gymnastics!”. So, I said I needed to take gymnastics class to try out the next year and finally I was enrolled in gymnastics classes!!
Not to toot my own horn but I was pretty good. I learned several tumbling skills and made the squad my 8th grade year. Cheerleading wasn’t so bad. This is where I learned how to pretend to be an extrovert. It was easier than I thought. Apparently, I was a closet entertainer. Who knew?
Moving from middle school to high school, I knew my tumbling needed to be more advanced. I began to work on backhandsprings and for the first time, I was scared. I knew I could do it but when I wasn’t being spotted I just wouldn’t go. I told my cheer coach I had it and was able to hide that fact that I didn’t have it for a long time. We went to competition and I knew it was do or die. I just HAD to throw it. So I did. And I fell. On my face. I finished the rest of the routine but I decided right then that I was going to conquer this demon. I started doing them by myself everywhere I could and it wasn’t long before I was flipping multiple backhandsprings down the football field or the basketball court.
This was the moment I connected work ethic and determination to rewards. I learned that things aren’t always easy but when you want something the effort to get it is worth it. I can’t do a backhandspring anymore. (Well, I could but I would be on the couch for a few days assuming I didn’t break anything in the attempt.) But I certainly do understand work ethic. I wouldn’t be a successful business owner if I didn’t. I also understand the concept of not giving up. Conquering my fear of learning the backhandspring was not overnight. I was scared for a long time even though I pushed through it. In 2009, we had a recession. I almost lost the gym during that time. It was hard and took a lot of effort and perseverance to keep things going. I had to fire people I really cared about and take on most of the work myself teaching all the classes and the team groups. I missed a family vacation to Tweetsie Railroad because I couldn’t leave the gym. There was talk of bankruptcy, food stamps, moving back in with my parents, etc. It would have been easy to give up and just go coach somewhere else. There are multiple gymnastics facilities within a 30-minute drive from me. But I was not going to lose my gym and I worked hard to guarantee that. 10 years later and I have a thriving business with a successful competitive team and dedicated staff and customers that I have developed personal relationships with. Because I did not give up. I could go into a loooonnnnngggg rant about how quickly kids give up these days but I won’t. I won’t because it’s not true at gymnastics. I see gymnasts work week after week to get a skill. I see them fall over and over. And get back up over and over. I’ve seen tears of frustration. But I have seen them persevere. And the day they get it is the most magical moment. When they see their accomplishment and realize what went into that. It’s a beautiful thing to witness and to be a part of.
That’s my “Why Gymnastics” moment. It’s not about the cartwheels or the flips. It’s about the lessons we take when we leave the gym. The ones that make us great students, employees, family members, and humans. So when you watch your gymnast walk into the gym, you know that what she is getting is far more than learning a sport. She is learning life.