Between The Bars

Feb. 21, 2005

Coach Wooden's definition of success begins with, 'Success is peace of mind...' The lessons we have learned over the course of the past month and a half of competition have accumulated to lead us to just that - peace of mind. I'm not talking about complacency. What I'm referring to is the feeling of accomplishment that you get when you know that you've done everything you can to make yourself and your team just a little bit better each day, be it in practice or competition. I'm talking about playing to win rather than playing not to lose. Not taking anything for granted. Trusting your coaches, your teammates, and yourself. Staying in the moment and enjoying the experience. Holding your teammates accountable, taking a role of leadership, and telling them what they need to hear so that they can go out there and compete with the tenacity and grace that has characterized UCLA Gymnastics for so long. When all is said and done, these are the things that allow one to experience peace of mind.

I believe that our weekend at Stanford was a display of all these components and more. We had a brief team meeting on Friday afternoon in which Miss Val explained to us how 'iron sharpens iron.' Iron tools are made sharp and fit for use by rubbing them against other iron. Similarly, we can only 'sharpen' our teammates and grow individually if we dare to confront and challenge one another, which leads to a shared sense of commitment and camaraderie within this unit we call a team. It's an exciting task to embrace, and I trust that we all felt a bit of 'sharpening' by the end of Friday night's competition. Several times throughout the course of the meet, it was one of our gymnasts - not the coaches - who were giving last-minute words of advice to the Bruin who was up next to compete. That interaction and trust is one of the key things we have been working on in the past few meets, and it's nice to see that it has finally manifested itself so that we can continue to grow as a team and push each other to achieve competitive greatness.

While there is always room to improve, I'm encouraged by the way in which our team has developed thus far. Stay tuned for the continued growth of your Bruin gymnasts, as we learn more about ourselves and experience the peace of mind which comes from putting our whole hearts into the remainder of this exciting '05 season. I hope you can make it out to Pauley for our next home meet this coming Sunday at 2:00 as your Bruins take on Georgia and Arizona. Bring your signs and cheers ... it's gonna be a good one. See you Sunday!


P.S. - Thanks to our football entourage for making it up to Stanford on Friday and helping us reinforce the fact that, no matter where we go, 'This is our house!'



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