Over the weekend, my Gymnastics Queen competed for the first time at level 5. All this really means is that we were excited for her, and the routines are more difficult than they were last year.
I've never done a pull up, let alone a back-handspring. The best I can describe gymnastics is that it looks really hard and every level is more complicated than the one before. I just now, after three years watching competitions, can finally catch a few deductions in her routines. Deductions I catch include:
Pausing in the middle of a routine, falls and stepping out of bounds. The rest goes over my head, every time.
This year, along with catching some deductions every now and then, I'm much more relaxed. I've evolved as a "gym mom." The less I freak out and question things the more my girl accomplishes. She is more at ease, and less competitive amongst her own teammates. Most importantly, she doesn't over-think every little mistake.
She sees every routine as a whole.
Over the summer, one of her coaches was having a parent's meeting. The coach, who has trained many girls over the course of 20 years, had some valuable words of wisdom.
"If your daughter falls at a competition, no one will feel that more than her. These girls do so much, dedicate so much time, they need to be celebrated after every meet. Don't immediately ask about a fall or a mistake, tell them how great they did."
While so simple, it is so true.
I've heard parents mumble some unthinkable things in that gymnastics
waiting room. I've seen crazy right in front of me. From "I hope the
whole gym is laughing at her...she deserves it.." to "if she doesn't stop coming out here I'm not sending her to camp next week in Texas (girl, 9, currently in camp in PA, lives in NY)...."
Huh? And say what? Who's laughing and going to Texas?
It's very easy to get caught up in your children's sporting events,
schooling and extracurricular activities. Especially when they demand
time and money. Remember to step back, enjoy the ride, and praise hard work. These are kids. Remember they are kids. Treat them like kids, and be their happy, safe place. They will need it more often than you know.
My daughter's routine scored her a silver, and we left the meet excited for her win and starving for dinner. We grabbed some grub, and rather than pick apart her routines, we picked on wings on fries. It was a much better way to celebrate a job well done!