In May, Mary and I went to Las Vegas, for her to compete in her last tumbling meet at Regionals.
Mary's spark for tumbling has slowly been fizzling, and it hasn't helped that her gym is in a new building that can't fit the right equipment and her coach just isn't in it anymore either and basically had just stopped caring much about Mary or anyone on the team really, aside from one girl.
It has been really hard for Mary and for several others on the team. The season was a rough one, because they have not had the proper equipment to practice on, so the meets have been the only times they have been able to do their complete passes. It just hasn't been good.
Mary had decided to do competitive cheerleading a few months prior to Regionals, but she decided to finish out the tumbling season the best she could and to try to end things well with Heber Handspringers.
I prayed and prayed and prayed for Mary to have a good experience at Regionals, and to be able to end her tumbling "career" on a good note, feeling positive and happy and good about everything. I just wanted her to end with a good solid meet.
We all fasted for her the Sunday before, and Mary put in extra hours at the gym to get ready.
The day finally came, and we headed off to Vegas. We had a good time together driving there. She is a great buddy and friend and I love talking with her and hanging out with her.
We rolled in to Vegas right around dinner time. We shared a room with Mary's teammate Whitley and her mom. We met up with them, and with Mary's coaches and went to dinner.
We had a good time at dinner, but it was very obvious that everyone knew Mary was quitting, and they weren't about to be very welcoming or kind to her. It was very, very frustrating and very sad as well.
The next morning was warm ups bright and early. Mary said she felt great during warm ups, but Bev was hardly coaching her and was ignoring her. It had Mary rattled.
Mary competed a few hours later on double mini. She was one of the only ones to stay in bounds on her landings, and she looked great! I was so proud of her! She was really happy too! Her scores didn't reflect her performance at all, and she missed the podium by one place. Somehow Whitley went out of bounds on both of her passes, and she got the last spot on the podium, and pushed Mary out. Mary was a really good sport and congratulated Whitley and held her chin up. The kindness was not returned in any way.
Mary competed floor a few hours after that. That competition was VERY close! All of the girls looked great. It was a very crazy moment when Mary was standing at the end of the floor waiting to do her final pass EVER as a power tumbler. My heart was broken, and I was so sad, but I could tell for sure that she needs to move on to other things, and that this sport was no longer a good, positive, and fun thing for her. It was so bitter sweet!
Mary did beautiful passes! I was so happy for her, and she was thrilled!
Yet again, her scores did not show it, and she missed the podium. Without even a hug, or a good job from her coach of 4 years, Mary and I walked out of her last tumbling meet.
Mary was so gracious to all of the other tumblers she has grown to know and love. She congratulated everyone, smiled at everyone, and was a wonderful sport.
Of course, she broke down and cried a lot in my arms, in the quiet of our hotel room. My heart was just completely broken for her, and for how things were ending. Not just her scores, but the treatment from her coach, her teammate, and the judges that were hanging out with them. It just wasn't right.
I had a really big struggle for several weeks following regionals. I felt like we had fasted and prayed for Mary to feel closure and to feel good at Regionals. That is not how it ended at all. I was so confused.
I still am, but I have accepted that God knows what is best for Mary, what lessons she needs to learn, and how much she can handle.
The next morning, I did a long run in the hotel gym, and then Mary and I went shopping for a while before heading home.
After we got home, the reality of being done with tumbling finally hit Mary as she was putting her leotard away, and realized that she didn't need it anymore. She shed more tears on my bed next to me, and for a few days was re-thinking her decision to quit. She was contemplating continuing on tumbling, just at a different gym.
In the end, she decided on cheer, and I cannot even begin to describe how it has all come together to well!
She made the highest level cheer team, along with three of her best friends and fellow tumblers!! (they also quit Heber Handspringers for the same reasons as Mary).
The cheerleading team just got three new coaches were are amazing! They all have very competitive and impressive cheer backgrounds, and two of them were Nationally Ranked power tumblers as well.
Not only is this cheer team going to be amazing, but they also set up a separate advanced tumbling class that will meet once a week for two hours, and Mary was invited to it, along with just a few other girls. The coach for it is one of the judges from Regionals and a World Class Power Tumbling coach!!! Holy crap! She is going to teach Mary double fulls, front tumbling, and loads of tumbling that is even more advanced than she already does!
Once Regionals was over, Mary went into full fledged cheerleading mode. She has been constantly working on flying stunts, standing tucks, jumps, and front tumbling. She is watching cheer competitions and cheer shows on youtube, and she has been so excited! It has been so much fun watching her be so excited and into something again!
She had her first cheer practice, and tumbling practice today and loved it! She is a flyer and she loves stunting. She was able to stunt, tumble dance and do jumps.
She told me that she loves the team aspect of it all, and her coaches are so kind, supportive and professional.
She is going to have an absolute blast.
She will definitely miss tumbling, and I will for sure miss watching her do it, but I can tell that she is on to something that will definitely bring her a lot of fun and happiness, and will still push her athletic abilities very far.