This past weekend my amazing little daughter competed at her first States competition for gymnastics. She's worked so hard all year to get to this point; hours upon hours of weekly practices and private lessons that she begged for to help her with her problem areas. And she got out on those mats and competed like a champ.
She pulled some wonderful scores...and some not so wonderful ones, despite the routine in question being one of the best she'd ever done. The judges were tough with a capital T, and the gymnasts she was up against were some of the best in the state. Actually THE best in the state, according to the All Around scores. Thanks to the luck of the draw, we ended up in the toughest session of the competition.
Which meant that despite all her effort, hard work, and doing her absolute best once she was there, she didn't win any medals. Because of the way they divide the sessions and age groups, there were many girls who scored lower who walked away with medals. That's tough to swallow. Especially for an 8 year old. She was heartbroken. Crushed. And I was crying right along with her...nothing hurts as much as seeing your child hurt.
But my amazing little girl had her moment of disappointment and then she brushed her tears away, smiled, and said "Now I get to be a Level 4! I can't wait to go to gym next week and learn my new skills!" :-)
I'm so proud of her. I'm proud of her hard work, her dedication, her courage at not only performing routines that would terrify me, but doing them in front of huge audiences of people who want her to fail. Gymnastics is a brutal sport - one, tiny toe out of place can mean the difference between being on that podium or not. A tough judge (or one who is having a bad day or who just doesn't like your gym) can mean the difference between the lowest deduction possible or the highest possible. Sometimes hard work and dedication just aren't enough.
But she loves it more than anything. And she's GOOD at it. And she doesn't let anything, even not winning when her scores say she should have, come between her and her goals.
I learn so much from watching this incredible little girl. She's tough, she's strong, she's determined, and she allows herself to mourn when she's lost and then dusts herself off and gets right back up.
I would have been so proud to cheer for her had she made it to the podium. I was even more proud to watch her walk from that gym with her head held high, a smile on her face, excited for what her future will bring.
Mommy loves you, baby girl. You are my inspiration and the light of my life. I am so proud of you!!