Saturday, April 21, 2018

A Coach, An Athlete, And The Temporary Team

My daughter just killed it at her Regionals gymnastics meet. This was the best-of-the-best across region 4 for XCEL gymnastics division, Diamond level (7 states including Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Missouri, Nebraska).

She won 4th all-around, with a super awesome 1st on Floor with a 9.7, 2nd on beam with a 9.45, and a 4th on bars with a 9.025.

But that's not all that impressed me that day…


It started with a coach.

A coach my daughter had never met.

…and a team that, at least for a single meet, included my daughter as one of their own.

My daughter qualified for regionals, and ended up being the only athlete from her team to compete. She was placed with Twin City Twisters team for the rotation.

When they arrived at their first event, Vault, I watched in amazement as the TCT coach asked my daughter her name, then called his athletes over, introduced my daughter to them, and while I couldn't hear everything, I heard fragments that helped my daughter feel included, "in the know" for what to expect, and he even gave a rundown of the team's personality.

Then it was her turn to compete:

To my amazement, as she started, I heard a full barrage of, "Come on, Julia!", "You Got it, Julia!", and when she stuck her landing?  "Way to go, Julia!"

I was stunned.


Proud...of my daughter, her temporary team, and a coach that instilled a "we're in this journey together" quality into that team. Now, at that moment, I didn't know how this coach was in teaching gymnastics skills and performance, but I could tell through the behavior of these other young ladies on this team that he was an outstanding coach.

With all I see and experience with 'loners', 'competitors who focus on themselves', 'win with whatever it takes' in the world, instead I heard…

…team bonding - towards someone not on their team

… a coach who led by example, led by befriending a lone athlete and led by encouraging his team to do the same.

…and a lone athlete who, in turn, cheered on this team … as a temporary member

As a result?

She had a cheering section she started her beam:

...with more claps and cheers as she stuck her leaps and spins...

When she was done?

The lone athlete had a team to celebrate with after her 2nd place 9.45 beam score.

And for her last event, Floor, with her temporary team, she was encouraged, cheered on, and she started what would be her best score ever…
...with a team watching and cheering...

...encouraging her through her tumbling pass...

...shouting excitement at her leaps...

...clapping as she stuck her jumps... her just that extra confidence to push herself... leap with extra bounce...

...and finish knowing she did the very best she could...maybe even a little better with all the support this temporary team gave her during the event.

When the score posted, and the athlete saw a 9.7, she doubled over in awe with her own awesome coaches...

Then celebrated with a member of her temporary team:  
(it's not lost on me that this particular team member had to care enough to watch my daughters performance, know her name, scan the score board, and once the score appeared, walk towards my daughter to help her celebrate...even though this team member still had her performance to prepare for)

 Finally, when it was all done, they even got to share the podium together:

In the end, my daughter had an outstanding experience at 2018 regionals, got a lot of well-deserved awards (including 1st on FLOOR!), and some great moments of team bonding with a temporary team coached by an outstanding coach.

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