Monday, August 11, 2008

"Makes Me Smile" Monday

Today's post topic is a no-brainer, really . . . .
the Olympics are underway, afterall !!!!

As I do every 4 years, when my favorite sport is being watched by the world, I take a trip down memory lane and relive some of my best gymnastics moments. I guess it's especially appropriate this year, as exactly 20 years ago I was at what turned out to be my peak, and having the best competitive year of my gymnastics life. I'd had an exceptional state competition that year, hitting all 8 routines that weekend (this is THE goal of any and every gymnast !), and had competed in my first regional competition. The icing on the cake, though, was competing in my first and only national competition . . . I was only 12 years old, and had only been involved in the sport for 3 years !!!

And even though I didn't hit all of my routines at nationals, I hit THIS routine . . . my constant nemesis, my bar routine. Bars was a total struggle for me. But on this particular day, it all came together at just the right time. As long as I live, I will never forget the feeling of making this routine . . . of getting to the end of the routine, to the dreaded skill that I always fell on, right before the dismount . . . and making it through. I remember thinking, " Oh my God, I did it . . . let's stick this dismount and savor the moment !" I will always remember that feeling . . . there's nothing like it. And even better, I have pictures of the blessed moment:

I went on to finish 7th all-around in that national competition. The picture below is from the newspaper article that was done about my qualifying for nationals . . . a bit yellowed and torn, but still intact 20 years later !!!!

I could wax eloquent for days about my gymnastics experience . . . the good, the bad, and the ugly ! Watching the Olympics brings it all back for me. I was never of the same caliber as the girls you see on TV . . . I only knew a small taste of what their whole experience must be like. But the love and appreciation for the sport never goes away. I am forever awed by the strength and power of the sport, and its beauty and grace. And I'm grateful that I was blessed to be a part of this amazing sport, even for a short time.
Go Team USA !!!


Jennifer/The Word Cellar said...

Even though I didn't know you back then, Missy, I always think of you when I watch those girls flipping and flying through the air. :)

Anonymous said...

Wow! Funny how we always describe our finest moments as "not in their caliber"- So- they probably aren't in your caliber either. I think it is a beautiful sport but it makes me sad that it's mainly for little girls and teens. I'm glad you shared you moments of triumph!