Mary was right, the place was absolutely amazing!
It was huge, professional, clean, and perfect for a National competition. The vibe in there was so cool! You could tell that some serious competition and some amazing athletes were there.
Mary was in the first group competing for the day, so it was quiet, and just starting to fill up when I got there. The judges were starting to take their seats, and the feeling was pretty intense. It was so cool!
And then an announcer with a booming voice welcomed everyone to the National T&T Championships and told us to stand as the athletes came in.
Line by line they came in, proud, nervous and excited. The second I saw my little Mary out there, on the big stage, the tears started flowing...again.
|mary is on the bottom right of this picture, to the left of the lady standing in the audience.|
|meeting and saluting the judges|
|Mary is the little one in the middle of the bottom group|
Immediately after the opening ceremony, it was down to business.
They each had two warm up passes, and that was it.
|warm up run down the floor|
I seriously felt like I was going to puke. I was so nervous for Mary, and so excited, and so emotional. I just kept on praying that Mary would be doing much better than I was. I just prayed that she would be able to do passes that she could feel good about and not regret, regardless of the outcome.
She looked completely calm and collected. Her warm up passes were pretty good, but definitely not what she needed to do for the real thing. Good thing she was able to work out the kinks.
Then, the big moment arrived, and Mary was up next to do her first pass. She glanced up at me quickly after her coach gave her some pointers. I gave her the I Love You sign and a thumbs up. She just smiled and stepped on to the floor.
She did a beautiful first pass! She completely stuck the landing! She broke into a big grin after her salute to the judges, and then stepped off the floor to talk with her coach.
She got a 55.6 which was lower than her normal scores, and was a little shocking, but still pretty good. We are guessing it was because she was a tiny bit slow in her take off.
Her next pass came up really quickly. This was going to be the big one. If she could stick this one, she would have an amazing meet.
I could hardly watch, seriously.
She looked cool as a cucumber. At one point, she was snapping her fingers to the song that was playing in the background, as she waited for her turn. ha!
She zoned in right before her turn, and then she went for it.
I have never seen her do a better second pass. She completely stuck it. It was unbelievable!! She got 9.0's straight across the board! She got the 4th highest score of the meet with a 27.0 She and her coach were all grins.
It was all I could do not to jump up and down and scream and yell. I just did some fist pumps and squealed a little.
Then, I just packed up my stuff and walked over to the corner where Mary and her coach were, where they show the scores and placement on the big screen. I give Mary the biggest hug I could, and told her how proud I was of her for doing this big meet, and for just going for it.
Mary ended up getting third place in her flight, and was awarded with a bronze medal. Getting in the top 3 was so awesome! I was very proud of her!
|Mary getting her flight medal|
We still had to wait for 4 more flights of girls (about 10 girls in each flight) to finish, before we knew Mary's overall placement. There were 58 girls in Mary's division, and Mary was the youngest. She was also one of the few that had never done Nationals before. We were just hoping for her to get in the top half. We thought it would be amazing if she got in the top 20.
We went and got some smoothies (finally, breakfast!) while the next flight went, and when we came back down, we couldn't believe our eyes. The screen that showed the top 8 (the girls that get on the podium) had Mary's name on it! She was in 5th place! We about died! Her coach was so excited for her!
We watched 2 more flights go, and Mary was holding 6th place. She was in 6th place with one more flight left. We were absolutely blown away. If she could stay in the top 8, she could podium!
The last flight of girls all nailed their passes. The girls were older and stronger, and it showed. By the end of the last flight, Mary was in 11th place.
It was really hard to get a taste of the fact that she could have made the podium, and just missed it....by 3/10 of a point. It took a while for that to sink in and settle. In reality, we didn't even let the podium cross our minds coming in to this meet. We were just hoping for the top half.
I could tell that Mary was really disappointed, and I felt for her. She is just young enough, that it is really hard for her to understand the whole scope of a competition like this.
But...it didn't take long to realize that Mary had just taken 11th place out of 58 girls at her first National Championships...and she was the baby of the group! It truly is astounding. Her coach just kept saying that over and over again.
Mary was quiet, and definitely inside her head. She had just done some amazing passes, and had stuck them, at a National Championship. She had just taken 11th place out of 58 girls. The whole thing was just so amazing...but only if you understand what it all means.
To Mary, in every meet she has ever done, 11th place is not the greatest thing. How could we just expect her to understand and know that all of the sudden, it is amazing! It was a difficult situation, and I yearned for Mary to understand and know how well she did, regardless of her placement (even though that was beyond what we had even hoped for).
We talked for a while, and I think it started to make sense to her. She did seem to perk up, and as time went on, and we had more talks about it, she became more and more proud of herself for doing her best, and for doing as well as she did.
No one wanted to leave the Event Center. It was hard to believe that it was done so quickly. Mary told me that she wished she could do it over and over again. She loved it! It lit a fire in her to make it back next year, and her goal is to qualify in tumbling AND double mini. I really think she can make it happen.
We left the Event Center, and the events of the morning came back to haunt me. I hadn't taken time to notice which parking garage I was in, because I was in such a hurry. We took poor Bev on quite the wild goose chase, trying to find the truck. We did a LOT of walking. We finally found the truck and got back to the hotel, and I had left my key in the room. Doh! So, Mary and Bev had to wait while I went to the office to get a new key. During the meet, I couldn't text Bev and stay in contact, because my phone was dying, and I had forgotten my charger, as well as Mary's warm-ups, and Mary was freezing in the building. She ended up wearing Bev's jacket. I felt pretty cool. geesh!
We crashed in our hotel room for a while. Poor Mary completely zonked and was asleep in seconds.
I couldn't help but watch her sleep and think about the amazing thing she had just done. More than that, I just felt so grateful that the sweet, special little girl in that bed was mine, come what may.