Monday, March 15, 2010

Relieved It Wasn't My Daughter...

When my youngest was around six (6) years old she decided she wanted to try gymnastics - There was a introduction to gymnastic class through the city and I signed her up.... The class took place at a pretty well known gym (I did not know it at the time) - after the first day of lessons her teacher came up to me and said that she was a natural... I took it to mean they wanted me to sign her up for classes to make more money... I said "that's nice" and did not think about it again until....

The owner of the gym came up to me at my daughter's last lesson and said that he believed she had a lot of natural talent and thought it would be great to have her take lessons... My daughter loved the idea and she started taking 2 - 1 hour classes a week. Before I knew it (within 6 months) she was on team and competing... Her classes had increased to 4 days a week at 3 hours plus each day... She also had private coaching on the weekends.... Later she switched gyms to work with a well known coach who had sent several girls to the Olympic games... This is where the fun became a job.... this is where my kid discovered she no longer wanted to this sport and after watching her cry in pain more times than I could count along with the other girls - I believed she made the right decision... Gymnastics is a sport that you have love to continue or the pain... the hours... the complete dedication is not worth it..

I was relieved on so many levels when she quit.... Relieved that I no longer had to hold my breath when she would swing through the air on the uneven bars.... or flipping her body onto the 4 inch beam... or climbing the rope to the ceiling (that still gives me the chills).. Relieved that I don't have to juggle a gymnastic schedule... relieved that I don't have to pay the expensive tuition and private lessons.... relieved I no longer have to listen to the all consuming gossip of the other moms... the viciousness was amazing... Most of all, I am relieved that I don't have to worry about her breaking a leg.. an arm... or worse like so many girls do each year....

The reason I am writing about this today is - I ran into a mom of a gymnast that I once knew - I asked her how her daughter was doing... She said that her daughter received a full ride to a pretty good college and in the first competition she hurt herself on the uneven bars... she broke her back.... she lost her scholarship.... she is still in extensive therapy.... and in excruciating pain....

I hope I don't sound awful by saying this.... but the main thing that was going through my mind when this mother was telling me about her daughter... besides how awful I felt for her was that I thank God my kid quit in time....


  1. How awful about that lady's daughter. I love watching gymnastics, but I can't even imagine what the gymnasts must go through.

  2. Wow. First, I love all the pictures! I can imagine how all of the fun would be taken out of it. I am glad she didn't stick with something that was no longer fun. Bless the other gymnasts heart, I can't imagine what she must be feeling

  3. I love watching gymnastics, but it's too bad that they have to have such pressure on them. Glad your daughter escaped that too - they need time to be kids!

  4. Wow! Thanks for sharing! My daughter is a gymnast. She is 6 and half. She has a similar story. Started a little before she was approached track to team. She was 1st in state this past December at 6 years old! She likes it. When she started she loved it. It is expensive. There are many injuries. We are debating...keep on or quit. Thanks for your info..something to think about!!

  5. Kelly,

    Sounds like you made the right decision and had her removed from gymnastics before anything happened. It grieves me that there are those too aggressive in pursuing excellence no matter what the costs.

    Love and Hugs ~ Kat

  6. Your post had me stop and think. My daughter takes lessons and she made team a couple of years ago, but because of finances we didn't pursue it. Now hearing this, it makes me glad that she just takes lessons now for the pure fun of it.

  7. This is one of those great posts that really makes you take pause. Thank you!

  8. How horrible for that family! I think with anything my girls get into, I only want them to do it if they enjoy it.



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