Sunday, June 27, 2010

Vlog #1

I decided to do a vlog this morning instead of a blog. I sound like a man. LOL.

I had not planned on making this vlog this long. Lol. So if u make it through the 8+ min., ur my hero. This is basically a recap of my long and tedious 2 year road in the sport of gymnastics and also includes what's going on in this present day since a lot of you are probably kind of confused about my life lately...If you know me personally that is. Since I had been pretty secretive about it for awhile, I have decided to come clean in explaining exactly what's going on. And I was too lazy to put in contacts...Just an fyi. I think that explains it. Enjoy-Or at least try to. ;)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Re-born Flame

I can't believe what happened today...

So many doors kept opening and closing for me, but none that were quite right...At the beginning of summer I moved back home, away from the wretched school I felt I'd been imprisoned at for the last 9 months. I had not been committed to gymnastics since last October and even then I had been struggling with being at the gym everyday, dealing with intolerable pain in my wrist and back for the last 2 years. I decided before summer began that this would be my last summer as a gymnast. I felt more ready to let go than I have ever felt in the past, but I felt confused...Confused about what I was supposed to do with my life...I have never thought about my life without gymnastics. A part of me still wanted to do gymnastics, but the only way I could do it was to make sacrifices. I had been making sacrifices for this sport more than long enough. I just wanted to live at home for a year, take a break from college and figure out what I really wanted to do with my life. But what the hell was I supposed to do at home for a year without gymnastics and without schooling. I kept going through different options. Quitting and joining dance team, moving to a different school to keep training as a gymnast, applying to a school to do gymnastics on a college team, work as a gymnastics coach or totally leave the sport of gymnastics behind. I have been offered over 5 coaching opportunities over the last year! And yet after my last job as a coach, I realized I wasn't ready to just coach...Not until I was done with my aspect of the sport. I decided to give this summer my one last shot to see how many skills I could get, I would decide what I needed to do by August, but I kept reminding myself that I was prepared to let go of the sport.

I started training at my very first gym, the one I was practically born and raised in. The gym I had been at for 14 years...but it had never been good enough for me. My expectations were always too high. I felt I wasn't given the opportunity to excell that I should have. I wanted hard coaches that could rocket me to elite...I should have known long ago that that was never even an achievable goal anywhere. I would have never been given the opportunity to go that far in the sport. I was too rebellious and sharp tongued as a child. And as I got older I did what I wanted, including what I wanted in the sport of gymnastics. Little did I know that that would change when I moved gyms at the "old" age of 17. I learned what most gymnasts go through, the good, high level gymnasts. The ones that get burned out early in their careers. The ones that are lucky to make it 4 years in collegiate gymnastics. After less than 2 years more at much more stringent gyms, I realized I liked choosing what I wanted to work, skill-wise as a gymnast. Likewise, I liked being the one to push me. No one else can make me perform well or work hard for what I want than me. And as I started training at home again, I realized how much I took for granted the years past at this gym.

Skills started coming back quickly, new skills started coming too for the first time since I had been at this gym. I liked training again! But I knew I could never ask to return to the gym I had caused so much disruption and chaos in, they would never let me return even if I had wanted to. I tried to push the idea out of my head and focus on just enjoying the process, but my future and what to do with it kept harrassing me. Too many different options were available and none were quite right.

Then today at gym, I was working series on beam when suddenly Michelle asked, "Do you wanna compete for us next year?"
I stopped, not believing the words I was hearing, I looked over at her.
"W-what?" I finally stuttered.
"Do you wanna join team with us and compete here next year?" She asked confirming exactly what I thought she was referring to.
I looked confused, as well as unsure about what to say. I couldn't believe she had actually asked me the question that I would've never had to courage to ask her.
"Um, I don't know.." I finally stated.
"You don't have to decide now, you can wait til the end of summer before you make a decision." She assured me.
I then went on to tell her about my email to SPU and what the coach had written back. I told her that I thought about trying to get on the team in a year but didn't have a place to train.
"I just didn't think you'd ever let me join the team again." I told her truthfully.
"Of course we'd let you do team again!" She stated in surprise.
She smiled, "Besides, all the girls love you and would love having you on the team."
"Ok," I said, still in shock, then added "that'd be really cool!"
She then hugged me and added me to the team skill chart!
I have been on cloud 9 since practice and so excited for the path God's laid out for me to follow..back at home again. :)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Khorkina of Great Britain...

Elizabeth Tweddle has been one to watch over the past decade, now at the age of 25, she has proven that she is still one to keep a close eye on. Not to mention, her routines are considerably harder, more artistic and original than they've ever been! Most gymnasts fade out by their late teens or early twenties, Tweddle on the other hand seems to have become increasingly more fantastic as the years pass. Her most recent performance at the 2010 European Championships in Birmingham, showcased signs that the code may in fact be improving.

Her floor routine is highlighted with a double arabian piked immediately connected with a lovely split jump! All of her passes are of high difficulty but I was completely mesmerized by her last pass. Even after the first two difficult passes and some high valued dance skills strung through out the routine, she managed to have more than enough endurance to end with a back 2 1/2 twist, punch front full into an immediate sisson! I really love how the new code highlights jumps out of tumbling! Especially when it is performed so beautifully as Tweddle makes her dance elements look. The crowd loved the routine as well, clapping to the beat as she began her tumbling sequences and cheering loudly as she finished her final pass. She not only won that event but then went on to perform an enchanting and likewise very original and artistic bar routine which highlighted a bit of Khorkina's magical style and flair.

Tweddle began with a very difficult combination of heely right into a sky high khorkina connected with a lovely gienger. She then performed two incredible tkatchev releases from a toe-on. The first piked, and the second straddled and then caught with hands crossed into reverse grip, (Pheobe Mills is the first one I have ever seen perform a tkatchev catch like that of Tweddle's), and that led to an immediate release to low bar which looked like a straddle back half. (Nicoleta Daniela Sofronie is the only gymnast I've seen perform this skill). The difficulty doesn't end there though. Tweddle then goes into a toe-hand connecting it into another Khorkina styled skill to high bar, also performed from a toe-on instead of a clear hip as Khorkina first unveiled the move from. Tweddle then ends the routine with a stuck full-out from an immediate cast handstand. The same dismount, I believe, that Khorkina used. Not only was the routine packed with unbelievably original and difficult skills but likewise, every cast handstand was hit right on top and each skill was done flawlessly! Her form was perfect from her toe-point to her legs tightly glued together.

I can't wait to see more of Tweddle in the future!!!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

A God Given Gift?

I was watching, "Touched by an Angel" the other day. (I know, I'm a nerd), but I love that show! Anyways, I watched one particular one in which the angel, Tess, was telling one of the characters in the show, a woman, that she was given the gift of poetry. Poetry was her passion and was used to better the world. Tess told her that everyone is given a gift, a talent, a passion from God. And that, God doesn't give us passions without having a purpose for that love. I thought to myself of my own passions; none have ever been greater than my passion for gymnastics. I feel in love with the sport when I was barely walking and the love continued to grow within me over the next 15 years. However, there have been times where I didn't give any gratitude to God for giving me such a precious and beautiful sport. I used the sport for my own pleasure and for my own reasons. My success was never contributed to the God that gave me the talent and desire for the sport. The more I let this truth sink in, the more I realize that there must be a reason God has allowed me to still want to do gymnastics, to still love the sport and most of all, given me the ability and body to still continue to train. However, there isn't one day now that I take for granted. Instead of going in for just my own benefit, I am trying to go in to inspire and uplift everyone around me. I am now trying to be a more encouraging teammate; giving help whenever I can. God doesn't make mistakes, there is a reason for everything. And while I still have a passion for gymnastics and a body to allow me to continue in this sport, I am gonna keep on going. If I only get one day; I'm gonna take it, if I only get one summer; I will take it, if I only get one more season; then so be it. Whatever happens, I am trying to stay in each present moment, loving everything God has given me, and trying not to cling tightly to any earthly things. This summer may be a test of my faith, but so far everything is proving that I still have time in the sport. Even so, I understand that overly-caring for the sport is the last thing I want to do. I am allowing myself to not care, at least not the way I used to. I am not looking into the future anymore than I have to, nor the past. If this summer is the last one I get in this sport, then it's gonna be one hell of an awesome summer!

So far, last month and these two days of June have been exhilerating! I was exhausted when I went into the gym today but I was excited to see Coach Nancy. This gym is so funny, it doesn't seem to matter how hard you try to get away, somehow people always find there way back. Both Perry and Nancy have returned, at least for now. Today was pretty uneventful. I was really tired. This was the third day of gym in a row, my wrist was hurting, and I have been going on walks and runs everyday this week so I wasn't really up to doing well at practice. It seems that not "caring" has allowed me to feel that "wasting time" is okay, I no longer feel frusterated, upset or angry when I'm doing skills that I will probably never compete or even do again. When we go to snack-break I enjoy getting to talk to my teammates; and Nancy in today's case. Then on tumble tramp we worked whips, and then moved onto whip 1/2, front lays. Mine felt good and of course, this prompted Michelle to suggest I make the front layout into a front full twist. I secretly had been contemplating going for it before she spoke, but I wouldn't have unless she had suggested it. Only 2 years ago, I shattered my foot on a tumble tramp doing an attempted front layout, front full. The only reason this injury happened was because instead of staying in each present moment, I was only worried about the front full. The result was that I attempted to do a front full in the front layout and well, it didn't work out so well. Likewise, in 2006/2007 I became very fearful of whip 1/2's and basically any back tumbling due to the fact that I landed on my head on a whip 1/2, 2 times in a row. That stupid mistake also happened because I was thinking too much ahead. I have a tendency to do this in both the gym and in life outside the gym... As I stood at the end of the tumble tramp, preparing to go, my mind momentarily slipped and I thought of my tumble-tramp, front full accident. Then instead of holding onto the thought, or even thinking anything else at all, I just jumped backwards. I stayed in each move, backhandspring, whip, whip 1/2, late twist I thought to myself, and then I was rebounding forward and twisting. I landed on my butt in front of the mat at the end of the tramp but I went for it, was safe and wanted to do it again. =D I continued to work on it til the end of practice, since we only had about 15 minutes left anyways. When Michelle told us to take our last turn, I said outloud that I was going to land this one on my feet. No one was listening, but I didn't care. I went for it, this time turning the front full over a little more and easily landed, perfectly on the mat. Michelle cheered for me, in fact she seemed more excited than I was. Honestly though, I am very excited at the progress I've made and the risks I've decided to take. I guess "not caring" has it's advantages, and apparently so does staying in the present moment!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


A lot has happened in the last couple of days.

Basically, I didn't make it into Cirque, but I wasn't ready yet so that was what I was hoping and planning on happening. However, even though I was rejected, the trip gave me confidence in myself in knowing that I actually had the skills to make it. I just hadn't been working them consistently to feel ready to do them. Looking back, it actually makes me laugh that the woman told me I just needed to get some double backs, off of bars, rod floor and tumble tramp. I nodded, but I really actually DO have double backs at those 3 places... I just hadn't done them this weekend because the equiptment was new and I took too long to warm up. Like I said though, I wasn't ready and I didn't really want to make it to Cirque just yet..Not til I know what I'm doing with my life.

The next big decision I have made was that I am not returning to college next year which may mean that this summer will be the last one I have as a gymnast... :( It makes me sad yet at the same time I feel like I'm not going anywhere. I keep relapsing; Injuries, training for a few weeks then not training at all, and other personal issues I've been dealing with. Maybe it is time to be done. Yet since Kamloops, something happened.

I went into the gym last night. My very first gym, wait...technically 2nd, but first gym I was on team. And I did amazing!! I was tumbling incredibly well. Landing all of my back 1 1/2 twists to my feet. Then I was doing double backs easily on the tumble tramp and I wasn't sweating with nervousness. I felt really calm and relaxed about the skill. I ended with a back 1 1/2 to punch front on the tumble tramp.

Then on bars I was finally making my casts all the way to handstand. I then proceeded to make a full length, level 7ish routine...easily... Kip, cast hs, 2 iar clear hips to 60+ degrees, jump to high bar, kip, cast, giant, giant and then did a layout flyaway without anyone standing there! That would be the first one by myself in over a year! Plus the routine was almost too easy! I went onto blind, front giants and felt more confident in myself. I kept my shoulders open a lot better and was almost making the front giant, finally! I then did toe-hands, made 2 iar, almost 3!

Here are the picture(s) I promised:

I hate this picture with a passion. If only I hadn't sounded so dumb when I talked to Sabrina, then I wouldn't have had such an irritated-awkward-half smile on my face. Ugh...

Here's where the Canadian nationals were held!

And the gymnastics center I auditioned in!

We weren't allowed to take any footage of the actual audition.

And here is Canada's flag. =D

It just makes me wonder why...I don't understand why I love gymnastics this much, to literally come into the gym everyday even though I have so many reasons not to. Now I don't know what to do. All I can focus on right now is living each day, in each moment. Not worrying about the future or the past. Just enjoy the journey. Afterall, that is part of my life purpose; learning to live in the present.