I got to compete in my first gymnastics meet and came home with five medals!
This weekend has been on our radar for quite a few months as Emelia has been practicing twice a week focused on this out of town gymnastics meet – her first ever – in Woodbridge with her fellow GW Elites team. All of the girls worked really hard leading up to this weekend and spent the last month at the gym learning how you repeat ad nauseam in an effort to have your muscles remember the routines even before your head does. In fact, some of the girls even started to bemoan the twice a week repetition they were engaged in prepping for this competition, weeks ago. Even Emelia started to share some of these feelings which led to conversations about the how’s & why’s of repetition in athlete’s preparing for events.
With the meet starting on Friday morning with sign-in at 9:00 am, it meant that Danielle and I needed to take the Friday off work in order to be able to go to the meet and cheer her on. And to make things easier for Emelia we booked overnight at a hotel near the gym so we could go down the night before and settle in Emelia and not have to get up before the crack of dawn to head to Toronto at the same time everyone else would be trying to get to work. After we found out that her meet would in effect be over by noon, and knowing that Vaughan where the meet took place, was half the way to Charlie, Todd & Marshall’s house, we quickly hashed plans to spend the rest of the weekend we had off with a visit to see them.
As soon as I was done work Thursday, I headed home, packed the car and we were out the door and on the road the second the last daycare kid was gone home at 5:00pm. We made great time down to Vaughan and met up with some of the other members of Emelia’s GW Elites team in the hotel pool to swim off the road legs and excitement of the next day’s event. The girls got a good hour of time in the pool and hot tub to spend their nervous energy, and Danielle & I focused mostly on sitting and enjoying the hot tub. After that we were all off to bed.
The event itself was held at the host team’s (Woodbridge Gymnastics Club) facility and as a result, didn’t quite feel like a competition but more like any other week of practice. Well… except for the table of trophies and observation area filled with seats and parents and family members filled to the brim. They have a nice big gym that has lots of space, but actually when the new Gymworld facility gets finalized, all bias aside, I think we will have a nicer space and maybe they’ll get to host a competition too. The only beef with it was the parking which being in the middle of an industrial park, and tons of neighbouring business was a bit of a challenge to find a spot that didn’t threaten we’d get towed. I ended up having to let Danielle & Emelia out so they could get registered and spent another ten minutes trying to find a spot.
The competition itself was such a great thing to see. Having spent many hours both playing in ice and roller hockey tournaments, and organizing and running a roller hockey league and tournaments, it was interesting to be on the sidelines as a spectator and parent. As soon as we got into the gym and Emelia got connected with her teammates, I was floored by the unexpected joy I got from just watching her with her teammates (without her knowing) seeing a lot of the same nerves, excitement and happiness she was going through, that I one time had too. That part was my favourite part of the weekend, I think.
As for how she did, she ended up coming home with five medals. She missed getting third in vault by .050. In Balance Beam she finished fifth, Uneven Bars she was fifth, Floor routine she managed seventh, and seventh all around. She learned a lot – the least of which why repetition leading up to the event helps overcome the nerves of being in a strange place doing this in front of all her friends, family and a table of judges. Given this was the first time she had ever competed, we were floored with how well she did. She was a little bummed about her positioning at first, but after how we pointed out to her how she was in a difficult group and that her scores in the groups some of her other teammates would have placed her significantly higher, she started to understand a little more. We also talked about where she had troubles that we could see (which was the Uneven Bars that everyone seemed to) and how she could use that to focus her efforts on perfecting for her next tournament which is in a out a month’s time. After some good discussion she decided she was much happier with the results and actually maybe even proud of them!
And after her aunt and uncle making such a fuss over the medals she was really happy with the results. And then when we got home today and the twins asked immediately to see “all her medals” he was a lot happier about them. It was so great to see her do as well as she did, have the troubles that she did and want to finish better than she did. At the end of the day, she did very well, but more importantly we know that she has the ability and skill to do better. And we told her that. It will be interesting to watch her and see how she applies these lessons she’s learned.
As if that wasn’t enough to talk about, as soon as we were done the tournament, we stopped in to peruse Ikea and grab some lunch. Once that was out of the way, it was off to visit Charlie, Todd and Marshall! We had already had a great weekend, but yet there was that still to come.
But that is Danielle’s story to tell…
What a busy weekend from start to finish. We could not be prouder of Emelia and all the work she put into her competition, how she composed herself in spite of the nerves. She was cool and collected the entire day, she rolled with the punches including pushing herself with a minor hamstring pull she got when they were doing their practice run through their vault right before that first event. She didn’t complain when she was in some pain in the first few events and just pushed herself through. She was disappointed a first but once we talked her through she was proud of everything she had learned and is ready to practice and learn for her next competition. We are sooooo proud of you baby girl!
Once we gathered our girl and all her bling from the competition we popped over to Ikea for a quick shopping trip, then to the outlets to get a few things before our last leg of the day. Off to the Muskokas to spend the weekend with my sister, brother-in-law and nephew. We arrived just in time to grab a quick bite, grab some grown-up beverages and snacks before arriving at Charlie and Todd’s for the rest of weekend.
The weekend was amazing from start to finish, we got so much time with Marshall and Todd and as much time as we could possibly get with Charlie between her shifts at the hotel. We had so much fun and Emelia and Marshall loved spending every moment together. I cannot get over how much Marshall has grown in the 2 months since we saw them last. We took Friday night at a pretty lazy pace and stayed up for the wee hours chatting away.
Saturday was all about spending as much time as a family, we went out for breakfast, went to a local art show, went for an amazing drive to see a few of their favourite places to go for hikes and see some of the areas waterfalls. I just love it there and the happiness I see in both Charlie and Todd just anchors that this was the best decision for them as a couple and more importantly as parents to move up to one of the most beautiful place in the province. The night went again to the wee hours.
Sadly this morning around noon hour we had to say our good-byes and head home. The weekend was filled from start to finish but it is a weekend none of us will soon forget, full of family and amazing memories.