A Letter To Gymnastics

Dear Gymnastics, Thanks For The Many Memories That'll Be Missed

Harder days are the best because that's when champions are made! -Gabby Douglas

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Dear Gymnastics,

I sit here typing trying to find the best words to form sentences that could actually show how much I appreciate you. I know it's been a couple of years since I talked to you, but I really miss you and I wish I didn't give up on you so easily. I wish I could have let go and just relaxed or took a break and not just stop trying. You taught me so many real-life lessons that I can look back and say "hey, gymnastics taught me this."

I miss you! I keep saying this, and I am going to always keep saying this because it's true. I miss home. I miss the feeling of walking through the beautiful open window doors and smelling the strong scent of goals and success. I miss the feel of walking onto the floor barefooted and feeling your strength and guidance going through my body like a push on the swing from my mom when I was little. I miss feeling the putting on my grips and taking over bars. The way the air carries me after my feet pounce the ground picking up all your strength, the way the music to my floor routine fits perfectly with my personality and the way the dance is able to express myself, to the way I fall off beam, probably from a simple half turn to a back handspring and how you give me the determination to keep pushing and to get back up and try again and again till I'm satisfied. And I miss winning and getting medals and just being out their showing my skill and then coming home to thank you and work on new skills to eventually show the world. It was you that made me feel wanted and that even if had trouble outside the gym, I could come home to a safe place and learn and perfect something that means the world to me.

What happened? I got too caught up in wanting to be an ordinary high school student that goes to dances and hangs out late and goes on trips with my other classmates. It was me that decided you weren't enough and... you were, you were the right amount of what I needed in my life. I feel like I let you down, which means I let myself down, and that's my hardest pill to swallow... my worst regret.

You taught me so much with your strength and guidance, and I didn't use that to my advantage and that taught me my biggest lesson in life: just because it looks greener on the other side doesn't mean it's greener on the other side, doesn't mean I am going to be happier... and I wasn't in the end.

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To The Soon-To-Be College Freshman Who Think They'll Keep Their High School Friends, Know This

You will maybe talk to 10 people back from your high school while your in college.

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I know what you are thinking "Of course I am going to still talk to all my high school friends once we graduate." "You just didn't keep up with your friends." "I am going to talk to them every day."

Of course, you may be the lucky ones that go on to the same college and university, but if you follow your best friend to college then have you ever thought to yourself. "Did I choose my school based on if my friend(s) would go to college together." Obviously, it could be coincidental that you end up in the same place, but my argument is more on the idea of having friends that go to the same college on your list of important things once you move away.

Now if you are still reading and still in denial with what I am saying then continue.

Since moving away from home I have broadened my horizons and met more people then I could ever have imagined. I have met people that if I have not kept an open mind to them I would not be friends with them now. You will most likely choose the same type of friends that you had in high school if you do not keep an open mind when finding friends in college.

You also do not want to be that person who refuses to make other friends besides their high school friends. I hate to break it to you, but your high school friends will find other friends beside you when they leave for college/university. This time in your life is supposed to be "a new chapter" if you do not branch out of your comfort zone then you will be stuck in a little bubble for the rest of your life.

Not only will your friends in your high school class be making friends, but you need to make friends that are in the same stage of life that you are also in. Still talking to high school aged friends will limit you from conversations due to distance, lack of relevance, and just not going through the same stuff as you.

Sounds daunting? I know.

I am not saying that you can not be friends still with your high school friends. From time to time I catch up with mine to see how the school is going for them, and how they are doing, but I am building and forming relationships with my friends at college because you have had to start up from ground zero, and will be forming a foundation until we graduate.

Even when you have broken it is nice to hang out with your high school friends and talk about the good old days. My point to you is to keep an open mind and to not get upset when high school friends have moved on and found their new friends from school just like you.

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Tiger Woods' 2019 Masters Victory Means More Than Winning a Tournament

At the 2019 Masters, Tiger Woods defined what a comeback story truly means.

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For the last week now I have tried to process the events that transpired in the world of golf. As many of you may know by now, I am a fanatic for Tiger Woods. I have watched as one of the greatest athletes to ever grace this earth fell from his pinnacle. I have watched as he and his family were brutally subject to a national embarrassment. I have watched as one of the greatest athletic bodies in all of golf was twisted and contorted through 4 back surgeries and physical rehabilitation. I have watched as critics and fans alike believed that his professional career was over. That he would no longer be a competitive golfer and that he should just retire instead of trying to recreate something that had gone awry.

Today I can say with the utmost of certainty that this is no longer the case. Tiger Woods won the 2019 Masters last week in dramatic fashion. Here are the stats plain and simple. Woods had never won a major tournament after trailing entering the last day of competition. Woods had also not won a major in more than 11 years and his most recent Master's victory was in 2005. Last week, Woods entered Sunday just two strokes behind the leader Francesco Molinari. At the end of the day, Woods won the event.

I have stood by this man's side as a loyal fan for the last 11 years and seen all that he has endured. For me, his victory was unequivocally the greatest moment in all of the sports. Period. There really aren't enough words for me to sum up the magnitude of this event and in the fashion that it took place. I still am speechless a week later. As I sat watching the final round unfold from a live stream on my phone (as I was in a car driving back from Florida), I was in actual tears. I knew that Tiger Woods would be a winner again. What I didn't know is that he was destined to return back to his place in history as the greatest golfer to ever live. The race for Jack Nicklaus 18 major championship victories mark is now back in contention - something that has not been highly considered for the last decade. What Tiger Woods did on Sunday at the Masters is greater than the sport of golf. It goes beyond athletics and winning. It demonstrates the story of grit, relentless toughness in the face of adversity and most importantly, it epitomizes never giving up.

For this current generation of young golfers who grew up idolizing Woods, they saw and heard first hand the return of the roars that followed Tiger every time he stepped onto a golf course. For runner up's Brooks Koepka and Xander Schauffele, they were not mad that they had lost, rather they were happy that Woods had won. They both said in their post-round interviews that the atmosphere and energy that was felt at this tourney was unrivaled to any other sporting event they had played in. It was because of one man, wearing his notorious "Sunday red" as he remained unflappable in the face of his opposition. On the 12th hole, a short par-3 that faces the infamous Rae's Creek, Woods demonstrated his poise and maturity. 5 of the top 6 players in the field hit the ball well short of the hole and landed in the water. The only player not to do so was Tiger who chose to aim well left of the hole and play for par. It was here, with 6 holes left to play that Woods reclaimed the lead. Fans and players were all aware of what was to transpire, they could feel that Tiger was ready to pound.

For me, Tiger Woods' victory will be a moment in my life that I will never forget. More importantly, he unified an entire nation to sit down glued to their televisions and watch the final round play out. I had friends reaching out to me to let me know that they were tuned in to witness history unfold, people who aren't golf fans in the slightest. This demonstrates in the most minimal way possible the magnitude and importance of this win. It was bigger than golf. It was something that young fans and old ones alike will cherish indefinitely. For that, I thank you Tiger Woods. You made all of the moments where we as sports fans wanted to let you go and move on to this new era of talented golfers worth sticking by your side. You brought a country with such polarization and difference together to watch a round of golf. And lastly, you made a fan of yours believe in something bigger than sports, but rather, believe in comebacks and hope. Tiger Woods you will always be my hero.

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