Between The Bars

Feb. 26, 2006

I had a '... get out of your little gymnastics bubble' moment when I returned from Arizona Saturday. My husband and I live in a 12-unit condo building. We have a great group of neighbors in the building, including Don Knotts (You might remember him as Mr. Furley from Three's Company, or my favorite, Barney Fife on the Andy Griffith Show). When I arrived home Saturday, I ran into Scott, another neighbor, coming up the elevator. Our conversation went something like this:

Scott: 'Sad, huh?'
Me: 'Yeh, it was a rough one.'
Scott, looking at me oddly: 'You know, it's all part of life.'
Me: 'When you don't have any depth, the challenges are magnified.'
Scott, looking at me more oddly: 'What are you talking about?'
Me: 'It was a rough one in Arizona last night, what are you talking about?'
Scott: 'Don passed away last night.'

I felt foolish that I automatically assumed that Scott would have been talking about gymnastics. It hit me profoundly and brought the Big Picture back into perspective. It's ALL a part of life. Don Knotts was a kind and gentle man. We all enjoyed his company in our building. He will be deeply missed.

With regard to gymnastics, it IS a big part of my life because of all of the life lessons one can learn through this amazing sport, coaches and athletes alike. For me, it is NOT about being able to say to another team, 'We beat you.' But it IS about learning how to 'put it all on the line', 'leaving it all on the competition floor', going to 'battle' with confidence and enthusiasm, etc.

We have had some tougher than usual competitive experiences this year, Friday night in Arizona proving to be our toughest. It was one of those nights where we just couldn't get going. It wasn't from lack of effort. In fact, I was proud and impressed with the effort and intent our athletes had ALL night, from beginning to end. To say it was a 'struggle' is putting it mildly. And yet, our athletes were literally wiped out from refusing to give up. Not once did I feel that we let down. It was a battle well fought.

It's been very clear for a few weeks now that a lack of depth magnifies all of the challenges that come with every season. And still, Friday night, Kate, Jordan and Peckett led with seasoned competitive leadership. Ariana competed like she's a senior. Comforte and Jalynne both fought hard through the flu - never using how crummy they felt as an excuse. And Janelle and Alyssa continued their journey of trial by fire in competing hard through difficult and frustrating situations. To be honest, it was frustrating, but encouraging at the same time.

I can't help but think how much more our freshmen have learned this season having to be counted on week after week . Our entire competitive roster continues to impress us coaches with their resilience to setbacks and their drive and ability to keep 'their dream' alive.

Melissa Chan is looking good to come in on an event or two this weekend, and Maranda Smith will hopefully be cleared next week. Michelle's feeling strong and almost pain-free. Tasha's return is still tenuous.

Looking forward to our last home meet this weekend. Honoring Kate will certainly be filled with great memories and much emotion.

Enjoying the Journey
~ miss val



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