As I mentioned in my previous post, I went to watch Mary at gymnastics last week. This is rare, because we are in a carpool, so I usually just drop her off and pick her up. It is too hard to stay and watch with the other kids in tow.
This gym in Park City is a great gym. The hours and money are so much better, and Mary is doing great.
When Mel and I walked in the gym the other day, I noticed that Mary was not with the rest of her team. They were on the floor, and Mary was on the bars. Actually, not just the bars. She was on the high bar, that is set up over the pit. It is higher than the normal bars, and is usually only used by the upper level girls. AND, she was doing a handstand on it, with the help of a coach I had never seen before.
As we continued to watch her, I noticed that she was with a mix of girls. Most of them were upper level girls that are in Junior High or High School. Mary was doing some harder things, but she looked so happy.
She then went over to the floor, and began doing punch fronts. (a front flip on the floor). Something that is 2 levels above where she is. She was grinning from ear to ear, and this coach was egging her on.
Mary has been happy with gymnastics lately, but just kind of in limbo. She is in the process of moving up a level, and has been a little bored with the old stuff. I haven't seen her flare for a while.
This day, her flare was blazing! She looked so happy and excited. She thrives on challenge and seeing what she can do. She totally gets this from Ben. I am a chicken.
A while later, someone tapped me on the shoulder, it was Mary's coach. She told me that they had put Mary with a new group today (a much older group, and at a much higher skill level), just to see how she would do. She said that the coach of that group is the upper level coach (the optionals coach, level 7-elite) and she was also the owner of the gym. She had been watching Mary throughout the week, and had picked her out. She had asked to work with Mary that day, so she could see what her potential would be if she was pushed and asked to do some hard stuff. She said that she could see something in Mary. She could tell that she could handle harder stuff, and had the mental toughness for it. So, she tested her out, and Mary flourished in it.
She did not say that Mary was any better than any other girl in her team. She said that see could see some potential in Mary, that if pushed, may really explode and thrive. She could see that Mary is capable of being pushed, and actually likes it. She was dead on.
They have decided to have Mary work with this optionals group 2 days a week for 4 hours at a time. The other day, she will be back with her team at her level.
Later that day, the optionals coach talked to me. She said that she had picked 2 other girls, along with Mary, to do this, and that this was a big honor for Mary. She will be the youngest. She said that she plans on "fast tracking" these girls through the levels, and pushing them to see how far they can go.
This next week will be a test week, to make sure the girls can handle it. If not, they can stop at any time.
Mary is very excited, and came home excited that day. I am happy for her, and excited too, but of course, I am nervous. The hours and pay don't go up much with this new curriculum, but if she speeds through the levels, it may happen sooner than later.
We are grounded and we know that Mary, at the most, could have a small chance at something in the collegiate level, and even that is a pretty big goal and so far away, so we will have to decide each year, if it is still worth it or not. We are not thinking we have an Olympian here. We are proud parents, but we know reality. It will strictly be for the love of the sport, and go as long as time and money can allow.
It would be fun to push for more, and to pour all of our time and money in to this, but it goes against everything our family holds dear. Our values, our time together, and fairness and opportunity to each of our children.
We feel blessed and excited that Mary has this opportunity, and we are very proud of her, but we also know there will come a time that we will have to choose. And it may be tough.
Until then...what an honor for our little girl. We are very proud of her. Go Mary go!
You were born to fly.