Monday, November 19, 2012

Jacoby Miles: Fighting For a Miracle

The feeling surrounding this planet called earth has become so fragile lately.

Friday, November 17th, 2012-
It's a gymnast's worst nightmare. The kind of nightmare you read about in the news but never expect to happen to someone you know.
We all know how dangerous the sport is but only gymnast's will understand the countless hours spent training, the constant pressures, the fears behind new and old skills and the obsession that drives gymnasts to return to training day after day, week after week and year after year...
We, as gymnasts, realize it could happen to any of us.
We know the high risks of the sport...
But to fathom that it could really happen... That what happened last Friday to a former teammate could happen to any of us... it's unreal.
Jacoby Miles of Roach Gymnastics crashed on a dismount from the uneven bars landing on her neck onto a mat in the pit.    
She immediately lost feeling in her lower extremities.
She was rushed to hospital where she currently remains, paralyzed from the mid-chest down.
Jacoby was a teammate from Grace Gymnastics Center.
Even though I didn't know her very well, I remember her as being super sweet, caring and a very obedient and hardworking gymnast.  To hear the news of her accident was gut-wrenching and surreal. Yet it's amazing how many people have come together with the painful news of this 15 year old girl. Though she is paralyzed right now, her spinal cord was pinched and not severed. So there is hope that she will be able to walk again. For now, she is taking it day by day. We are hoping for small gains and a miraculous recovery.
Please help support her in anyway you can!
For more information:
http://getwelljacoby.blogspot.com/2012/11/continued-prayers.html
http://www.roachgymnastics.com/jacoby.asp
http://www.roachgymnastics.com/
http://www.komonews.com/news/local/Teenage-gymnast-Jacoby-Miles-paralyzed-during-practice-179958501.html?m=y&smobile=y

Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Olympic Surprises of 2012

I don't know why I expected the Olympic Games to go without a surprise. Do they ever?
Here was what I thought would happen:

Jordyn Weiber would win All Around while Victoria Komova would make a blunder that would cost her the AA. Then there would be a big, dramatic tearfest put on by the Russians. -Basically a replay of Worlds.
-OR-
Victoria Komova would pull everything together to win AA while Jordyn Weiber would just have enough "little" mistakes to keep her from taking gold.
-Or-
Both Jordyn and Victoria would make enough mistakes that diva Aliya Mustifina would manage to grab onto gold-God forbid. Her form on twisting elements KILL me!
Instead Jordyn Weiber would not even qualify for AA because of the 2 per country deal... Her reaction is not one that will easily be forgotten. I truly believe she would've won AA had she gotten through qualifications.
Instead Gabby Douglas and Aly Raisman would take top 2 spots to represent USA. I would not want the USA to have had to put Aly up as an AA contender. Thank god she didn't win a medal. That would've been an embarressment to the sport.

There were two options that I thought could occur for Gabby...

Number 1. She would crack under the immense pressure and realize how big the Olympic Games really are, thus would not medal or be an AA contender.
-Or-
Number 2. Would do well enough to finish right behind Jordyn, as Chow's former gymnast, Shawn Johnson did 4 years ago.

Instead she did the most unthinkable and conquored the most unimaginable task in becoming the 4th American Olympic Champion in the AA in history, the first woman to win a team gold and AA gold and the first African American gymnast to win the AA. Way to make history! On top of it all, I don't think she realizes how big this is. She seems so young and naive still. One day in the future I think she'll realize the immensity of her win.

Surprise #3. Mckayla Maroney...I thought that there was no way possible that she would not win gold.
Olympic Pressure, I guess.
I've never even seen her fall on a vault! I guess it was her weaker vault though that caused her grief. Her amanar is still the best in the world.

It's exciting to see an old-timer win another event though as Sandra Isbaza did during the 2012 Olympic vault finals. 
   


Sunday, July 15, 2012

I should wear Al Fong gloves when coaching...

Where to begin, where to begin.
I suppose I should begin at the beginning and discuss the latest news that I have on hand at the moment.
First things first...
Mary Lee Tracy will be in Tricities in 2 weeks from now. All American Gymnastics Sports Center will be hosting a 2 day clinic for optional gymnasts all over the state of Washington July 28th and 29th. This should be epic news to you!
That's my newest bit of information I have.
The rest is mostly just needing to vent about the Olympic Trials craziness. So this will be old news. I apologize beforehand...

Shawn Johnson retired. Fortunately for us all. I never liked her to start out with and I will never like her. Oh and just for extra news for those of you who care, "ashleyakaflipper" blocked me from her youtube channel for writing my personal opinions about Shawny. I was very disappointed by this because I liked writing good stuff about her other montages and I will miss writing mean and nasty messages about the gymnasts I don't like. Oh well, apparently I am just a mean and nasty person...

Nastia...Oh Nastia... And Rebecca... Oh dear Rebecca Bross...
I have similar feelings toward Nastia as I do for Shawn. I think a lot of Nastia's haughtiness comes from her dad, so it's not completely her fault right?... I don't like her dad very much either. I also don't think Valerie was right for Becca. It was like Vanessa Atler all over again. Except Rebecca's experience may have been worse. Like Nessa, 3 years before the Olympics I would never have imagined the team without Becca on it. However, without that knee injury, she may still have had a legitimate shot...maybe.
Going back to the knee injury, rumor has it that during her warm up prior to the horrifying vault, Becca had not landed any of her attempts and both of her ankles were shot. So what does Valerie do? He makes her compete the same damn skill she hasn't landed once... I am thankful that WOGA will not have a three-peat and even more thankful they do not have any of their gymnasts on the Olympic team this year...
Nastia's comeback was humorous, to say the least. She waited too long before deciding to make the comeback. I also find it remotely interesting that Martha let her go through Nationals to Trials. Chellsie Memmel didn't get such fine treatment. Maybe Martha was worried about Nasty-ia's fans. However, they may have been more lenient toward denying Nast another chance because both bar routines were HORRIFIC. At least Chellsie was somewhat ready on other events and just had a fluke beam routine. I am still pissed at the Olympic committee for not letting Chells through for another shot. It hurts my heart they would treat her the way they did.
How about Bridget Sloan...?

     I was saddened to hear about Sloan's injury. She seemed to be doing rather well in training. Likewise, I don't think she really had a legitimate shot at the team either. I had already picked out my team prior to the games and none of the '08 team made the 5.

Alicia. Sacramone.
I was a little surprised they did not pick her as an alternate. A little but not really surprised. I was however surprised they have picked Anna Li as an alternate. That was a cool turn of events indeed!

Another surprise to me was Elizabeth Price. She came out of nowhere! Actually she came from the well known Parkettes of Allentown, PA. She still came out of nowhere as far as performance-wise. I started second-guessing my Olympic Team selection when I saw her performance and placement. If she had just a little more experience, she may have made the team... I was also vaguely touched by the Bill Strauss's reaction.

Mckayla Maroney. I always have to have that one gymnast I don't like on the team. She is my pick right now. Actually I don't like most of the team but that's just me being judgemental again. I love her gymnastics. Her amanar is out of this world! I love that she does hit 180 degrees on her leaps and her dance is lovely. What I don't like about her is the immaturity she exudes.
What did she say about getting a puppy in comparison to the Olympics...?!
And how about the twitter posts she sends to teammates that just annoys the heck out of me.
I actually only decided today that I don't like her so I don't have a whole lot of reasons yet but let me tell you, as soon as I get the opportunity to watch her again, I am going to get irritated of everything she does... That's just how it works when I don't like someone.
Oh and I don't like her floor music.
On opposite spectrums, my favorite gymnast on the team is Kyla Ross! I have been watching that girl for years and have been absolutely astounded with her form, performances and gymnastics. I LOVE her floor music and routine. I love the way she lands on the beam like a cat, elegant and poised. She is superb in her gymnastics! Cannot wait to watch her at the games. I just hope she doesn't pull a McCool move... She would be the one they'd avoid using I think because of lack of experience if she messes up early.

Aly Raisman. Consistent as fuck but I just can't get myself to like her gymnastics. And the tear-fest at the end of the trials was uncalled for.

Jordyn. Yea, yea, yea I'm bored of this gymnast and bored of writing this blog. She's consistent, fantastic and lacks the personality most first place All Arounders have. Her coach is another one I don't like at all and may account for part of her personality issue...

Gabby Douglas. So young... So innocent... I love her gymnastics. She has no idea how big this is...she is... right now.

There's your 5. The 5 I called. Actually I shouldn't be so pleased at myself, I think a huge percentage of gymnastics followers called those top 5 athletes. I, however, did not call the alternates.

Anna Li was my only shock after the meet.
I was not surprised that Price and Finnegan took the other remaining spots.

I love it when girls who don't have a shot of making the team have a tear-fest... NOT!
Here's some more info about MLT if you don't know who she is, since non-gymnasts seem to have very little knowledge of gymnastics coaches.

http://www.gymnastike.org/coverage/238670-Cincinnati-Gymnastics-Academy/video/495801-Coach-Mary-Lee-Tracy-on-the-CGA-Gymnasts-Through-the-Years

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Washington State Championships

Here are some gymnastics routines from last weekend's Washington State Championships.
Clips include gymnasts from: Auburn, Garlands, All American and Gymnastics Plus.
It was a weekend filled with awesome gymnastics. Not only that but everything was done cleanly. I didn't see anything remotely scary, so unbelievably rare in a high level gymnastics competition.
These girls are moving onto Regionals which will be held in Portland, Oregon.
Good luck girls!









Tuesday, February 28, 2012

*A Bright Star_Tamara Allard*




The future of our leaders lies not in the hands of merely the gifted, but in those who passionately work toward their dreams...

At 17 years old, Tamara Allard has done more than most girls her age. She began her gymnastics career at the tender age of 3 years. In the beginning she simply wanted to play and spend time with fellow teammates. Like most little girls, she did gymnastics because it was fun.


By the year 2010, she was no longer the little girl, interested only in socialization. She had matured into one of the hardest working athletes at Gymnastics Plus. Even so, she barely made level 9, being only 2 levels from the prestigious elite level; it was an incredible feat to overcome. The year proved to be a vain endeavor for Tamara, as she didn’t even manage to qualify to regionals. Yet if anything, not qualifying only pushed her to train harder.
One year later, she proved she had some unfinished business to attend to. Her first home meet provided her the opportunity to show off some new and polished routines, particularly on her two best events, uneven bars and the balance beam. She won both events and took second in the all around standing- improving the score by two points from the year before. Such an opportunity had never been given to her before in her life. She shocked coaches and gymnasts all over the state of Washington with how far she’d come.
One month later, she found herself at the biggest competition of her life. San Diego, California gave Tamara a chance to showcase her new and improved gymnastics. She did just that, earning a 2nd place medal on her best event, bars. Despite a fall from the balance beam, she still managed to pull off 10th place out of a total of 25 people. She continued making improvements during practice and headed to her next large invitational where she landed her first yurchenko-a high level vault.
She stated, “All I could remember was looking down the runway, starting to run and suddenly being on my feet. It was all very overwhelming. I saluted to the judges and all I could hear was my coach cheering excitedly!”
Her next event would give her the opportunity to shine yet a stumble almost took away her chance of taking the crown as bar champion. On one of her newer, more difficult skills, a straddle back, her hand slipped as she grabbed for the bar. She managed to hold on, finishing her routine with a beautiful dismount. She scored her highest score; a 9.05 locking her in the first place standings.
Her beam routine was choppy and shaky, allowing a teammate to edge her out of the top place; she took 2nd, less than .1 behind. However, she triumphed on one of her weakest events, the floor exercise. Not only did she stick all of her tumbling elements but she scored a 9.1 grabbing yet another award, a bronze medal. Her final standings in the All Around would put her in a close second, right behind teammate, Kelsy Hyvonen.
Despite her accumulating accomplishments, Tamara Allard still remains a very down-to-earth and humble person. She even tried out for “Miss Yakima’s Outstanding Teen,” part of “Miss America’s Outstanding Teen program,” for her first time a year ago. Tamara described her experience during the Miss Yakima Outstanding Teen competition, “I remembered wanting to sit down so bad, I had to stand the entire pageant.” (she couldn’t sit because of the dress) She added, ”since I was wearing high heels my toes had also gone numb!” She laughed as she explained the scenario. It hadn’t fazed her in the slightest. Her confident yet equally loving and happy personality caught the eye of the judges. She surprised everyone, including herself as she became “Miss Yakima’s Outstanding Teen” in 2010.


It didn’t stop there; she also won individual awards in talent and as miss teen congeniality, an award won by the most helpful person. She also had the highest ticket sales, selling around 42 tickets in total. She had originally asked for 100 tickets to sell and was scoffed at. Most people didn’t sell more than 20. Instead she managed to persuade the runner’s of the event to give her 50 to sell, knocking their socks off as she nearly sold all of the tickets. Instead of becoming boastful about her accomplishments, winning has actually caused her to become even more grounded in her personal life. She has begun raising money for numerous charities and treats every person she meets with the utmost respect.
Due to the tumultuous and time consuming training as a gymnast, she has chosen to do online school. She is very driven, always working hard at everything she does and turning every assignment in on time. Her 4.0 GPA proves that she is very serious when it comes to her education. Likewise, she hopes to get into some very prestigious colleges. She plans to apply for UCLA or Stanford but would be equally as happy to get into the University of Washington and to hopefully have the opportunity to one day compete for them in gymnastics. She also plans to double major in Psychology and English. As a career, getting a degree in psychology would be the most direct path, also because ideally she would like to have her own practice. She would however, like to do something with creative writing and wouldn’t mind being an English Professor at some point. She is even working on a novel that she would one day love to publish. Yet despite the fact that her goals lie in English and Psychology, her favorite class is American Government. When asked why, she explained that she absolutely loves the way the government works as well as she enjoys understanding the historical aspect of the American Government.
At her age, the focus in education and her strong determination to excel in anything she does is somewhat rare and unique in today’s world. Yet having something so passionate in her life has given her the focus she needs to succeed in society. When asked about her loftiest gymnastics goals, the answer she gave was remarkable, “Gymnastics is much more than simply the sport of gymnastics. It has taught me a lot of life lessons I would not have experienced if my parents had not enrolled me in the sport.” She then answered more directly that ideally she would like to compete in an NCAA division one school for gymnastics and would be willing to train a couple of years before walking onto a team or attempting to get a scholarship.
The years she spent in the gym definitely caused her to grow up very quickly. The wisdom behind her words portrayed that even though she is not yet an adult, her maturity is almost unheard of for the average girl her age, although calling Tamara average would be anything but the truth. Gymnastics really gave her something that nothing else could provide. The excitement in her voice as she told stories about her gymnastics life was contagious and her final statement she gave me before ending the interview expressed what gymnastics was for her in life. “This sport is so much fun, it’s not just an addiction. It’s like pure ecstasy when I do gymnastics.”


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Aesthetic Beauty


Here are some of the pictures I have on my laptop that just capture a sort of essence.






A sort of beauty about that present moment they were taken in.






A powerful reminder of what a still image can show us.





A fragment of the past, captured and held forever in the only form it can be.


A memory. A dream. A thought. A reminder. A glimpse as to what was...






















It is but a gift to get to hold that moment.

































It brings us back for a moment...








A powerful reminder as to who we are and what we have become. A photo contains so many unspoken words.
















Words that will never come about because they cannot be placed.


One day we will only have the memories and photos to remind us of the past.



Forever gone are the moments; good and bad. Buried in the past.




No copyright infringement intended. I do not own the rights to these photos. Please ask me to remove or tell me who to give credit to.




Thank you!




-JD

High Tech Clinic 2011

Region 2 gymnastics held their high tech clinic in Beaverton, Oregon this year.

It was awesome to see some incredible athletes yet also, just as gut-wrenching to no longer be included in the training atmosphere as a gymnast.

Being a coach definitely has it's pros and cons; I am included in the conversations that only coaches of elite athletes have, the secrets of what really goes on at the ranch come out late at night, horror stories that I honestly would rather not know--And we are talking about what goes on in the United States, it's frightening to think about what is happening in other countries around the world. It's also exciting to be surrounded by top level coaches who have personal relationships with other high level coaches and athletes. Likewise, some of these coaches were also high level gymnasts at one point, that's really cool to be treated as equals now in the coaching world.

Yet likewise, having to watch these girls who entered the sport much later than I, and who are now kicking ass at this level is honestly difficult for me to watch. Don't get me wrong, it is really inspiring and cool to see their progression. I love watching high level gymnastics! It's just that sometimes, I wonder what would've happened if I had grown up in a different atmosphere, with more committed, quality coaches who had remained in the gym longer to help my gymnastics progress to the level I had wanted. Maybe I wouldn't still feel like there is unfinished business; this dissatisfaction of never attaining my highest goals, I think, keeps me from putting my whole heart and soul into coaching. Everytime I get too involved, I regret. I think that's why this clinic was so hurtful and left me feeling undeniably sick of the sport again.

Nonetheless, the two girls that I went to coach this weekend did a great job; both listened attentively, gaining some new skills, drills and motivation to continue to progress into season.

Here's a couple of clips of a skill that one of the girls I coach, practiced and got without a coach standing by. First one was perfect timing for hitting handstand, but she apparently wasn't prepared for the catch and crumpled. The second and third were past vertical but not by much, I'd still give her credit if I was judging.


video

video

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I also gained some new drills to also take back. A few shaping drills that Joe Rapp of HITS showed us were definitely ideal for attaining better bar swinging and controlled, tighter handstands.

Some of the top gymnasts from our region were apart of the clinic as well. Baely Rowe, of Auburn Gymnastics and Destinee Davis, now at MAC, were both present and exciting to watch!

Here's a clip of Baely doing a vault drill.

video

Overall, it was a good learning experience for both coaches and gymnasts alike from region 2.