To The Coach Who Never Quit On Me

To The Coach Who Never Quit On Me

You will always be family to me.

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One of the best feeling gymnastics ever brought me was knowing you were proud of me. I began gymnastics knowing one thing: I loved being upside down. Nothing felt more natural than flipping through the air and defying gravity. Nothing felt greater than landing a new skill and seeing your reaction. Your approval was everything to me. It made me great. It made me strong. You never quit on me, and for that reason, I never quit on myself.

You were there for me, practice after practice, competition after competition. You were also there, making sure I never cheated on my sets, ensuring I was becoming a better gymnast and an even greater person.

I always knew who you were. You were the head coach, the one to impress, the queen in my eyes. I remember one day, in particular, an in-house gymnastics meet hosted by our very own club. You weren't my coach yet, I knew you didn't even know who I was. But I remember seeing you coach the older girls, the ones I looked up to. It was from that day on I made it my mission to be noticed by you, so that one day, I too could be one of the older girls who every young gymnast aspired to be.

As a gymnast, I was good. Looking back, I don't remember how I did all that. I must have had a good teacher or something. You taught me passion and hard work, the importance of integrity and the value of teamwork. Most of all, you taught me resilience.

In gymnastics, you never know what's coming. One day you can be training for your first Level 10 meet and the next, you could be in a wheelchair, which more or less happened to me. What I'm trying to get at here is that injuries are inevitable.

But you never left my side. You were there on the floor for me the minute you saw me go down. You were there for me, comforting me when the doctor told me I would need surgery if I ever wanted to do gymnastics again. You were there for me that entire competition season when I was on the sidelines, knowing how badly I wanted to be out there competing myself. You took me to every competition I would be missing, showing me the importance of being there for my team all while ensuring I was never forgotten. You were there for me when I made my comeback to the sport and you were there for me when I told you I was quitting gymnastics for good.

Years later, I don't focus on the pain the sport brought me. I don't focus on the fact that I spent nearly five hours after school Monday-Friday at practices. I don't focus on the gold medals or even all the hard work I put in. When I think of gymnastics, I think of all the lessons I learned, from the sport and from my coach. I am who I am because of it.

As an adult now, I will continue to make you proud. I may be too old for the monkey bars, but I will continue to work hard in whatever I do, just like you always taught me.

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How A Weekend Away Saved My Mental Health

Sometimes a road trip is all you need

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We all have had those weeks or months where everything in our lives seems to go wrong. Where you feel alone and like a failure. You want to escape from life but you don't want to be where you are. Getting out of town is the perfect escape! In the past three weeks, I went from being happily in love to single and from a straight A student to failing grades. Life felt hopeless, I had no motivation to go to classes or cope with my break up. All I was sure of was I didn't want to spend another weekend in my stuffy apartment in a college town where all there is to do is partying.

I decided to take a 2-hour road trip to a town I'd never been to before with one of my best friends since early high school days. It was a great experience, we explored the town and spent the weekend together for the first time in 7 years. I realized that even when life shoots us hard situations there are the little things that get us back in a good spot. Even after a weekend away, the feelings are still there but they are not as strong as before. The getaway helped me refocus on what is important and gets your head out of that dark spot.

While not everyone can afford to just up and leave for a weekend there is plenty of day trips you can take to get away from it all. Even if it doesn't seem like much take a small road trip if you can. Go out of the area that has you in a slump. When you return I can almost guarantee that you'll feel better. The feelings may still be there but they won't be as strong as before, they will have shifted to a new form. Getaway for a short if you can, get out and explore those towns in your state you've been wanting to. Go live your life. Take a deep breath and start planning your next adventure.

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The Importance Of Being Bored

Everything to know about why you should do nothing.

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I've always thought of free time as a weakness. As I mentioned in one of my previous posts, I like to quantify my success with the number of things on my to-do list. So, naturally, I've trained myself into thinking boredom is the enemy of productivity. However, recent studies have shown that reality is quite the opposite.

In 2014, researchers Sandi Mann and Rebekah Cadman tested how boredom affected creativity. They tasked half the participants in their experiment with completing a boring task before attempting a creative one while the other half went straight to the creative task. The subjects primed with boredom were found to be more productive and imaginative when it came to the creative task.

Rather than seeing boredom as a sign of weakness, it should be seen as a time to recharge. Though productivity is important, it's pointless if your actions lack the creativity and clarity that only boredom provide. More than that, boredom is a means of revolution. Societal pressures teach us that constantly staying busy is the key to success. When we're busy all the time, we tire super quickly and have less time to think. We have less time to think about our goals, how we're being treated, and what we want to change about the world. By falling into the trap of equating business with success we maintain the status quo.

Don't believe me? Try Forbes Coaches Council - "an invitation-only organization for successful business and career coaches." Coach Sherry Swift of Swift Transitions, Inc. calls boredom a time to, "use your inner ear and hear from yourself." She advises young professionals to use boredom, "as a measure to do more, be more, and move forward." Likewise, Coach Cori Burchell, founder of Dear Miss Millionaire, tells her readers to use boredom to ask themselves, "Where in my life am I comfortable but unsatisfied?" Then ask, "What am I going to do about that?"

That being said, boredom is easier to talk about than it is to do. Especially in college, the pressure to always "be on" is prevalent every single day. Bowing out from the competition to take some unstimulated me time is a sign of weakness- or at least that's what I thought. I realized my self-condemnation for boredom was born of my deep insecurity about what people think of me. I thought that if I was perceived as lazy or taking time for myself by others, my reputation would diminish and people would no longer see me as the "successful student, leader, and friend" image that I tried so hard to maintain for myself. But the reality is that no one cares about you as much as you think they do. And even if they do care, their opinion is irrelevant. If I'm taking time for boredom to stimulate my creativity, that's my business and no one else's.

In college, I've found that it's important not only to prioritize your boredom but to put all of your needs first. These last two paragraphs probably sound a little cliche, but I don't think a reminder will hurt. It's imperative that college students spend these fleeting four years concerned with themselves and their futures. What you need to function as a happy, independent, and be a critically thinking person is of utmost importance. Boredom should be at the top of that list; so schedule time in your planner, take walks, disconnect, and have time to think. You'll be endlessly better for it.

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