Sunday, May 31, 2009


This was such a bittersweet season for Hailey. She got to compete level 7 this year and it was her first season of optionals. She had beautiful routines that showed off her wonderfully flexible 14 year old body. The beam, however, caused some pain and frustration. She had to scratch beam at 4 meets this year. That made her very sad. If you have been reading for a while... you know how I feel about her coaches decisions... UGH.
(For newbies...Hailey has been a gymnast since she was 6 years old. She had to overcome a serious social anxiety disorder to be able to compete in front of people. She has been with her same friends for 7 years. They are like a family. The head coaches have never understood quiet Hailey...they seem to prefer the cute little bubbly ones...and that has been hard for her BUT she has NEVER complained. She likes gym too much. Anyway...she had to scratch beam because she developed a fear of falling on a back handspring and her coach wouldn't allow a spotter. She "doesn't do that at level 7." So Hailey had to scratch until she worked through it.)

As it stands right now, due to her beam fear situation, Hailey has to repeat level 7 next year. All of her friends have been moved up to level 8. She was already the she will be lots older. She has come to terms with it, I think. Like I said, she never complains. She says she is determined to get her skills this summer and train level 8 in the fall. I am keeping my fingers crossed for her. If she does do 7 again....she will get very high scores. Maybe that will be good for her too. (But honestly, it's never ever been about scores for her. Seriously. Not. It took her two years to even look at her scores once they were posted.)

So we went to the Gym Banquet last night. The coach gives out awards to the most improved, best athlete, most supportive, hardest working, and best attitude. Hailey never gets any awards like that. The coach also gives out individual awards. She speaks for a few minutes about each child. For most of the children, she lists several accomplishments, talks about funny things they did this year, or pokes fun at them at bit. When it comes to Hailey, all she ever says is that Hailey has the best legs she's ever seen. She did mention that Hailey seems to be "coming out of her shell some". She then gave Hailey her "Perfect Legs Award". .....for the 3rd year in a row. (other variations include....million dollar legs, and young philly legs...but you get the picture) Most kids get a different award each year. I never say anything to H first. I let her bring it up. And she did. She showed me her award and commented..."I got that last year. And the year before that." I asked her what she though about it and she said, "I think that she doesn't know me well enough to say anything else." Made my heart hurt. Chest pains. But I nodded and said, "You may be right Hai. She just hasn't figured you out yet....but when she does...she'll be happy to know you." And that was all we said about that.

Now here's the really good news ...the old coach...the one that ignored her and paid all of his attention to the young bubbly girls...LEFT!! AND SHE LOVES HER NEW COACH!! He seems to really like her too. In fact he followed Hailey out of the gym (on his first night) to meet me and to ask Hailey if she was mad at him for working her so hard on bars. She gave her quiet, eyes down, smile and said, "No not at all." I gave him way too many thanks and said that I was thrilled to have him at our gym. I wanted to grab that man and kiss him on the face. I AM SOOO EXCITED FOR A COACH WHO LIKES MY QUIET GIRL. When we got in the car that night she said, "Mom, I didn't realize how little they worked with me until the new coach came. And I swear I got better ONE NIGHT!" She also added, "And he doesn't have favorites Mom! He treats us all the same!!" My quiet girl was sooo happy and excited it made me wanna cry. In fact, I did cry later when I was telling her Dad about it.

Fingers crossed. That girl loves gymnastics with all of her heart. It's not about being the best gymnast for her. It's about doing her best and feeling confident and happy. Those meets are a SMALL part of the process. For her, it's about training to be the best she can be with girls she loves.

She's the tall one giving a high 5.
2nd from the right.
First girl on far left.

I love these girls. They are all awesome and strong and brave. I am so glad Hailey has these little women in her life.


Barefoot from Heaven said...

Go Hailey, when you set your mind and heart to it you'll achieve what ever you want. I'll cross my fingers for you.

kendalee said...

What a heartwarming story of dedication and love! Hailey already glows, quietly and steadily, but I hope this new coach adds that final ingredient - of shining a light on her so that she can truly shine herself.