Between The Bars

Jan. 24, 2005

As I mentioned in the last update, our line-up was set at noon on Sunday after I got the trainer's updates. Thankfully, our athletes got over the flu and had energy to compete. I was most worried about Tasha on floor, but if any of you saw her floor routine yesterday ... she was spectacular.

The one catalyst to last-minute changes was Jordan's turf toe. She came into warm-ups thinking she could compete, but after going through the warm-up, she realized she wasn't going to be able to. I've never had an athlete have turf toe. From what I've learned and from what my husband tells me about football players who get it, it hurts a lot, and there's not much she can do for it besides ice it, stay off of it, and tape it up really well. It's one of those injuries that can happen just from taking a bad step - it's not like she needs a bad landing to make it flare up again.... frustrating. I'm glad to see that Jordan is handling all of this really well. She is extremely mature in so many areas. Every time we coaches talk about Jordan, one of us ends up saying, 'What a Rock!'

The highlight of the meet for us was Courtney Walker. Wow - her vault and floor routine were wonderful. Courtney's had a difficult time mustering up the confidence needed to compete the gymnastics she knows she's capable of. It was a coach's dream to see her bust through and shine Sunday. Big pat on the back to Chris Waller, who has been relentless in not giving her an inch in the gym. Every time she's let down and slumped into 'not being able to do something', he is on her like a rattlesnake in a pit full of varmints - as Bobby would say (I live in Los Angeles, but living with a Texan sure does make life colorful.)

I was also excited for Ashley Peckett on beam. Even though she fell, it was the first time I've seen her compete on that event with ... you know what I'm going to say ... 'Calm Confidence'.

We are slowly working out the competition kinks, tweaking routines here and there. Mostly, what we need to work on is 'Playing To Win' vs. 'Playing Not To Lose'. There's such a big difference in performing routines with all your heart and soul, instead of worrying about what mistakes you don't want to make. The perfect example of this is Maloney. She's been competing well and hitting her routines, but she's been missing that warrior attack mode that she is known for. We chatted last week, and she agreed that she felt like she was putting all sorts of pressure on herself for no good reason. I was excited to see that she was ON FIRE yesterday. When I asked her what the difference was, she said she decided to play hard and enjoy every moment versus worrying about not making mistakes. I've said this before, and Maloney keeps reinforcing it at every turn... Kristen Maloney is the toughest competitor I've ever seen. You should be around her when she's watching a football game! Ruthless!

Here's to slowly climbing that hill in hopes of planting another flag!

~miss val



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