I had my second gymnastics competition ever this weekend and did better in every single event!
So the complete focus around hockey got soundly brushed aside this week for two reasons: 1) the Leafs were eliminated in overtime of game six last Sunday; and, 2) this weekend was Emelia’s second gymnastics competition of her season. On the former, after putting away the keyboard after last’s week post Danielle and I settled in to watch what would become a thriller of a game that went to overtime before Washington put the Leafs season to bed. As much as it was disappointing for them to lose after they’d played so well, the worst part was explaining to Emelia the next morning why my playoff beard was gone.
That meant our focus quickly shifted directly to gymnastics. As it happened last time, with the competition taking away their Friday night practice there was a second practice added on Tuesday night to make sure the girls were ready. After having been to one, we could tell as this competition got closer – one in her own city no less – Emelia was a mix of excitement and nerves. When we talked about it and asked if she was nervous she said she was and wasn’t. She wasn’t because the first one gave her an idea of what to expect. But, she was because Forest City Gymnastics was the host organization and one of her friends goes to it, and they are known to take competitions seriously. She clearly was thinking measuring up and wanting to perform well. We had lots of great talks about it all week.
When it came down to the competition, because my work schedule is built a month minimum ahead, and having no definite answer what day she would perform, I had to request the entire weekend off including the Friday to ensure I could see it. As with the last competition, we found out this week that she would compete on the Friday. That meant – and zero protest from me – we all had the rest of the weekend off together as a family which was the perfect answer as the last month has been quite busy for all of us.
On to the competition… It was clear that Emelia was much more seasoned this time around and knew what to expect. Even in front of her Aunt Testza, Cousin Zoe, Grandma, Mum & Dad as well as being in a much larger venue for friends & fans, she was able to pull out better performances all around. She bettered each of her scores from the Vault, Uneven Bars, and Floor Routine from last time by a half point and her overall score almost by two points! Her only hiccup was a wobble on the Balance Beam where she fell off and had to hop back on. But even with that being her lowest mark of 8.450, it was still almost a full point better than her lowest score last time—7.650 on the Uneven Bars.
She was crazy consistent and we were so proud of the improvement we saw in a lot of the crucial elements in each area. But what blew me away the most was her performance on the Uneven Bars that ended with a rock-solid plant on her dismount—the best I’ve ever seen her do. What I loved most about watching her was seeing her be a jackass and having fun with her friends in between, but when it was time to face the judges and be marked, she seemed to flip a switch become focus and perform her best. Better than that is as well as we thought she did, she knows she could and wants to do even better. I love seeing her drive in this and focus on improving.
Despite not getting any medals in this competition as they only awarded them for third and up as opposed to seventh and up at Woodbridge, she handled the disappointment with grace and continued to smile and present like a champion through the entire awards ceremony. She even made a point of thanking the girls giving out the ribbons, as well as congratulating her teammate that made it to a medal on a couple of events. I couldn’t have been prouder of her and we made sure she knew that after on the short drive home.
With the rest of the weekend to just hang out, that is pretty much what we did. Emelia had a movie night at school on Friday night with her friends and then we enjoyed officially testing out the propane campfire pit that Danielle & Emelia got me for Christmas, with her best friends. Saturday and today were a lot of the same: waking up when the hell we wanted to, lying on the couch watching boob-tube, and just enjoying not having to be anywhere or doing anything. We did some errands here and there and then enjoyed BBQ and another fire pit. Today we popped over to Poppa & Grandmas for dinner and so Emelia could show Poppa pictures and videos of her competition as we was unable to come and watch it live. We had a great visit and it was the perfect way to cap off what was an amazing week.
This was one of those weekends when you see all the hard work your child puts in come to fruition. Emelia trained hard for months to prepare for this weekend and all the work was worth it. She improved by leaps and bounds from the first competition. She placed higher in every one of her events and we could not be prouder of her. The week was a busy one with an extra practice and still shuffling around with one car. We made it all work and got in all the practice time we could to prepare for Friday.
Emelia admitted she was nervous for the competition and hoped that she would improve on her marks from the last competition. And wow did she ever! She was amazing. Her marks were strong and although it didn’t get her to the podium she had incredibly strong scores. The hard thing for Emelia is that she is often grouped in the hardest group in the age level. There are almost 40 girls total competing so they break the groups into sub-groups of 6-8 girls per group.
Emelia scored higher than many of the other girls who medaled in other groups but within her strongest group she didn’t medal. I have told her that this is the best way to go as an athlete. Be matched against the strongest gymnasts because next year with her hard work when she stands on the podium it will be that much sweeter. She was disappointed of course but she handled everything with such grace. She held her head like a champion congratulating all her teammates and cheering everyone on. We are beyond proud of her and love what gymnastics has given her.
So we are back to the grind again tomorrow back to training and in two short weeks she is back to tryouts focusing now on making the next level team next year. She never gives up, she keeps working hard and that in our hearts is the sign of a true champion!