A few weeks ago DD competed in her first gymnastics competition. I think DH and I were more excited that she was chosen to compete, than she was herself! She has been doing gymnastics on and off for about 18 months, but it is only in the last few months that she has improved to such an extent that she has been invited to compete.
As after school activities’ coordinator, I have watched in awe as DD’s gym moves look more and more like, well, a gymnast’s! Unfortunately DH has been forced to live off my bi-weekly gushing update reports. So, when the opportunity arose to watch DD compete…DH was the first to ‘sign up’. Even knowing this would take up 4 hours of a Friday morning, didn’t deter him, nor did the thought of the boredom induced hijinks of DS’ 1 and 2!
Having dropped off DD at the designated competitor room, DH, the boys and I walked through the gym to the spectators’ section. As we made our way round the cordoned off competitors’ area, imposing, classical music played in the background, each note announcing the momentous nature of the occasion. A surge of pride gushed through my body and I welled up. The atmosphere was solemn, serious. I began to feel nervous for DD.
DD always puts her heart and soul into everything she does. She approaches life, as most 7 year olds do, like a whirlwind of impatient energy. She loves to win; be it reward chart stickers, summer camp medals, holding her breath under water for the longest or finishing her homework first. Being a twin, I think there is more of an incentive to compete. For example, when DD and DS1 are at their swim lessons, they ignore what the coach is saying about technique and just race each other.
Given this was DD’s first gymnastics competition, we just tried to focus on her doing her best and clocking up experience. That was until we saw the competition within her age group. Comparatively, she looked like she stood a chance of winning something.
That was when ‘naughty’ thoughts snook into my head. In DD’s group of about 12 girls, I found myself willing her main competitors to score poorly……I would turn to DH and say, ‘if only so and so would wobble enough to fall off the beam’. I don’t want her to hurt herself, just wobble. When it came to the asymmetric bars, I thought ‘now if so and so would fail to get sufficient momentum to do the ‘flip’……..my DD would stand a good chance of a place on the podium’. Then I wondered if other naughty mummies were thinking the same thing as me……..and decided the scoring was best left in the judges’ hands, and to take my own advice and let this be a lesson in doing your best and gaining experience!
DD won a medal for her beam performance. She was disappointed not to have won more. Even DS2 expressed his disappointment ‘I wish DD could have won all the medals’ he bemoaned (more, I suspect, because he thought she would have felt obliged to share them with her siblings as a reward for sitting through a 4 hour gymnastics’ session than believing she deserved them!). However, all was not lost. The next day we found out that DD placed 5th overall out of 12 girls at her first competition, and passed level 1. That was worth more than the medal. Cue cartwheeling over the moon!