I got my kip Friday!! Which means I got my Kip Leo!
So after the tough results last week, Emelia spent this week recalibrating her focus. Monday she had her Math tutoring which happens to be led by her gymnastics coach, Jenna who starts teacher’s college next year. Danielle gave Jenna the green light to ignore Math for the day in lieu of looking at the video and photos from the competition to learn what she could do differently and to get a better understanding of the scores. Emelia walked away from that hour with some great perspective and some renewed focus. But the best part was she was no longer down on herself but driven to do better.
Plans for the first camping trip out next month out (17 days or 3 weeks, but who’s counting?) in May. Originally, we thought it might just be a quick Friday to Sunday trip, built around her next gymnastics competition, but with it being a long weekend and me having some vacation days I am in the fortunate position of ‘needing’ to use up before June, we’re gonna camp from Thursday to the holiday Monday. It won’t be a provincial park as we needed somewhere close to Mississauga (Toronto), so we’re staying at the Toronto West KOA. As much as we’d rather be in a Provincial Park, the beats staying in a hotel or diving down and back for the day of the competition and losing a weekend of camping. And we’ll still be able to have some camp fires.
Friday was a PD day, so some time ago when looking for something for Emelia to do, she decided on registering her for a gymnastics day camp at Gym World. Even though the average age might be a little lower, we knew that Emelia wouldn’t think twice about spending an entire day at her beloved gym. And she was right. About an hour after dropping her off and while on my way to the gym myself for a workout, I got a text from Danielle telling me Emelia “got her kip!!!!“. She was so delighted. And she even had enough gas in her tank after spending the entire day at the camp, to get her kip again at Gymnastics practice that evening. It was amazing twelve full hours at the gym on Friday and she still had energy at the end of the day. But her muscles were a little on the sore side.
This Sunday was a big day for Emelia and again it was gymnastics focused – it was her tryouts for the upcoming season! Where last year she was very nervous going into it and worried about how she’d measure up, armed with a Kip in her toolkit, she was much more confident this year going in. Once she got going we could definitely see the confidence she exudes, but we could also see some nervousness and caution too. She was paired in pretty much the same group she was last year. The closest caliber to her was a Level 3 Provincial girl, and then the rest of the group was a pair of Level 4’s, a Level 5 and one Level 6.
Every girl in her group had more gym hours than her weekly and 4 competitions under her belt. As much as we tried to explain to her how she’s been matched with some tough competition, we could tell she was measuring herself to the skills of these girls. But where last year that caused her so much stress she almost gave up, this year she just kept trying. She attempted skills she had never tried before – some of them even getting close to doing first try. But the one that blew both Danielle and I away was the back walk-over she attempted on the beam. She had never done one. And the beam is her most tentative event after having the bad fall about six weeks ago. But we sat in awe as we watched her put fear aside and attempt it. She just missed it and fell down in a fall that look like it might have stung. But she got right back up and carried on without even being phased.
As I talked with her after about how it went and told her how proud I was for her to try these things, I could there was still some sadness that she wasn’t able do the skills. We had a good chat about how any champion will always be disappointed if they don’t do something perfect and that is how they get the best they can. But it was also important for her to recognize what she was able to accomplish. And with that we got some smiles. Where last year’s tryouts ended with tears and an inconsolable little girl who felt she didn’t deserve to be there, this year she was in much better spirits and I hope sees the amazing distance she’s come. And we’re just so damned proud of her!
What a busy weekend filled with sports and lots of fun and challenges for Emelia. After an emotional start of the week Emelia really dug in and took everything with so much maturity and poise. I was messaging back and forth with Jenna on Monday. Emelia had a world of questions of everything she needed to correct for the next competion. With Emelia caught up on her math tutoring I asked Jenna if I paid her usual tutoring fees would she mind going through the videos of her competition so Emelia would know where she needed to clean things up. The always supportive coach she was happy to do so.
Emelia was so happy to have this one on one time with Jenna and took everything in stride. Not easy hearing for an hour everything you need to clean up. Emelia took it with such maturity and was happy to know what she needed to do next time. With this info in her mind she went Tuesday to gymnastics with a strong determination and focus and worked as hard as I have ever seen her. She worked and worked. I want her to know more than anything how proud we are of her, how she has taken diversity and disappointment and dug in deep to bring out the best.
The rest of the week was more busy with more sports. To add into dance, play, gymnastics, Emelia also took on basketball. Her school has a junior basketball program to start the kids to understand the game with the hope when they have strong skills once they are old enough to try out for the school team in grade 7. For the last few weeks Emelia has been going to school early to learn all about the game. On Thursday they had their after school tournament. I was able to see Emelia’s last game and even saw her get a basket to put her team ahead and eventually win.
Friday she was back at sports all over again. A few weeks after she was home for Spring Break I had given her the option to go to a PD camp on the next PD day. She instantly jumped at the chance and said she wanted to go to the one at Gymworld. I said you know this means you will be at the gym for 12 hours. She smiled from ear to ear and we knew we had our choice.
Bright and early John got up and brought Emelia to the gym. Emelia went into the gym with one goal in mine. Her kip. She has been working on this big skill for a while but with all the training for the competitions she hasn’t been able to practice for this level 4 skill as often as she wanted. She was soooo close and wanted to use her camp to master it. She arrived and started camp at 8:30 and by 9:00 I had a text from Jenna saying “SHE GOT HER KIP”. I love that Jenna was there for it, not only because I was able to get a video but I loved that she was able to see Emelia get it. Jenna has given Emelia so much love and support so being able to see her get it with Jenna there made all the difference.
At the end of the day I went out to the gym to bring Emelia her snack and was happy to find out that after snack they were going right to bars. And even better was seeing Emelia get her kip suit. What is a kip suit you ask? The kip is a pretty big milestone for gymnasts, this relatively simple looking skill takes an insane amount of strength to master. What this skill allows is for Emelia to be able to learn her level 4 bars. So what the owner does is lets the girls pick a brand new gym suit from the gym store. Emelia had planned and picked her suit out a few weeks ago, checking each and every practice to assure her leo was still there. She could not wait to change into it and spent the remainder of practice in it.
You would think with gymnastics tryouts this weekend that would be enough sports for Emelia but nope. Saturday involved a full run around going to the dance studio for photos and full run through of their routines in costume for the recital at the end of next month. What this meant was full recital hair and make-up for both dances. We arrived around noon for her jazz pictures and dance, we had a few hours before her acro pictures. With summer just around the corner we figured we could start on looking for clothes for Emelia. We made our way to Once Upon a Child and peeked around to see what we could find. We didn’t have a huge amount of luck so she asked if we could go the mall. We were there for maybe 10 minutes and then Emelia hit the exhaustion wall. All the activities and emotions of the week came down at once. She was beyond tired. We agreed at that point that we would make our way back to the dance studio so she could get dressed and just take it easy until the acro part of the day. She got a mild second wind once she saw her friends all in their costumes and went into acro like a champ. Once we were done we agreed that we would take the night very easy as a family and opted for a quiet family movie night and to get all of us to bed early as today was another big day.
Today is the day that Emelia looks forward to and dreads all at once. Tryout day for gymnastics. The girls put big pressure on themselves for this day. For some girls they have their heads and hearts set on making a certain level and want to perform their very best to anchor that spot. For Emelia she wants level 4 so badly, she has been working so hard to prove she is ready for this next level. Working crazy hard at practices and working hard at the skills needed for today. She was once again in the same assessment group as last year, some really advanced girls. Now they aren’t really comparing the girls against each other for many of the elements because they don’t expect a kid like Emelia at level 3 to achieve the same level as say the girl who is in level 6 she was being assessed with. But what they want to see is the girls try, move outside their comfort zone and take instruction. Emelia did all of that, her improvement over last year is not even recognizable. She took on every challenge less one that she was told not to (front tuck), she even tried a back walkover on the beam. She didn’t nail it but the fact that she tried something that she was not going to really impressed both of us.
No matter the results of today’s try outs, we are beyond proud of Emelia and everything she has taken on. Now we just have to wait impatiently for the next 6 weeks or so for the results of today’s assessment, the coaches meetings on where they feel the girls should fall for next year.