Day 169 18 June – prize givings galore

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As our annual rhythmic gymnastics competition comes to an end, I can’t express what an eventful day it has been. The support from our rhythmic gymnastics community was incredible and the event ran as per schedule.

It was an experience I wouldn’t want to take on board again any time soon!

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Day 163 12 June – spreadsheets

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Our annual rhythmic gymnastics club competition is looming and seeing as our previous competition co-ordinator and knower-of-all stepped down from her position, no one really wanted to take on the massive challenge. I volunteered to organise the competition committee meetings as we had to start somewhere, but how I ended  up taking on the role as co-ordinator is beyond me!

Luckily thus far I have a wonderful team of willing mums who are giving up their time and creativity to make this another successful event.

I really DO NOT like spreadsheets!

Day 142 22 May – life lessons

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My daughter competed in her first competition as a Junior International athlete. I can’t even begin to explain how nerve wrecking the preparations has been for her. She is surrounded by an immensely talented group of girls this year. They are all determined, focused, flexible and ruthless on the rhythmic floor. She usually gets very flustered and nervous during warm-up but once her first apparatus is done, she manages to calm herself. Now, I need to emphasise that the last time she competed was at Nationals last year and she ended with a disastrous ball routine. I can only imagine the mental battle she had to go through to walk out and perform this weekend. But unfortunately her ball routine was a bit of a train wreck as she lost her ball off the floor, twice. Her score came down to a high 5 and is her lowest score yet while in the pre/international stream. Obviously she was disappointed and very upset with herself. But what made the situation worse was that her coach, the person she relies on in motivating her, ignored her when she walked off the floor. She didn’t give any feedback and told her to get changed for the next routine. My daughter was certainly not the only one who made mistakes during the competition but she was left feeling like a huge failure. When my daughter returned from the change rooms, she joined her team mate and started practicing her next routine. It was here when her coach looked at her and told her that she most likely holds the record for the lowest ever score by a gymnast from their club. This is what broke my daughter’s spirit.

Today’s photo is a quote suited best for the scenario my daughter found herself in. This is relevant to all people in leadership and facilitating positions. Be aware of the ears listening when you speak.

Day 77 18 March – fundraising

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My son and I attended a fundraising event for our club’s current junior international MAG (mens artistic gymnastics) gymnast. He is in the 360 squad, a group of young and very talented gymnasts who aim to qualify for future Olympic selections. He is travelling to Berlin for an International competition and afterwards spending time in the UK for a training camp. This is an incredible opportunity for any athlete and with an excessive cost involved, any amount of money raised is very welcomed. The night consisted of light entertainment in the form of parents vs gymnasts, MAG and WAG displays, raffle auctions and a 2 course meal.

Our son is a level 3 gymnast and has been doing gymnastics since the age of 5. He isn’t the best and some apparatus are challenging for a small body with little upper body strength but he absolutely loves it. He struggles to stay focused during training and is easily distracted by others around him but I don’t think I should expect more from a 10 year old. He has been in the same team since 2014 and they are a strong team to compete against. Their ages vary from 8 – 13 and last year was their most successful year yet.

Watching him compete certainly takes me back to my gymnastics years. I was an artistic gymnast from the age of 9 and stopped when I was 17. Our gymnastics club didn’t have many boy gymnasts and it was only on limited occasions that we trained with them which means the majority of our training sessions were girls only. We formed some very strong bonds and I don’t recall ever being in arguments or disagreements with any of the girls. We supported each other, cheered during competitions, hugged, cried and bandaged each other when our blisters tore. We were a close knit group and shared a special connection that other students in the school didn’t understand. I remember clearly how we got together one night during a school dance, ran to the rugby field, formed a circle, held hands and wished each other good luck for the upcoming Vaal Triangle Championships, which was the qualifying decider for team selection for the South African Junior Gymnastics Championships.

Now I know boys are wired differently to girls, but I would hope that my son has the same opportunity to form inseparable bonds with his team mates. Those are the relationships that help you grow, mature and shapes how you interact with others in stressful situations, especially when they are competing in an individual sport and there’s only 3 podium spots to fill.

Here’s to good memories, and memories in the making.