(via Mary Wright on Facebook)
Inspirational story from coach Charlie Amerosa:
What a great gymnastics weekend at the Split Rock resort in Pennsylvania. It was filled with lots of good memories for everyone. There was one particular incident however that stands out in my mind. All of the girls in my group had placed in the top 6 on one or more events and they all had some podium time. They get their medal put over their head and then they present for photos. All of them…except for one. And that one gymnast is an extremely kind and sensitive, hard working kid. She did well, 8.5ish, and consistent on all 4 events, but just not quite good enough to medal.
So as the celebration continued, medals jingling as gymnasts ran by to hug parents and teammates, I watched the one kid and I could see she was upset. It was painful to watch as she tried to control her emotions but she needed to be left alone for the moment. As Her teammates were jingling, she stayed in the same spot, sitting on the floor by herself. I was distracted by the others and when I turned back to look for her she was gone.
The awards were held on a large balcony that overlooked the gym. Below us the next session had already started. It really was a great view of a gymnastics meet. As I scanned the crowd, I spotted her standing by herself leaning over the balcony watching the competition. I could tell she was weeping. The whites of her eyes were reddened and it kind of splotched over to her temples, forehead and cheeks, like a pinkish mask across the whole top half of her face. I waited and watched for a few minutes. I was sure she didn’t need to hear anything from me at the moment.
She shifted a bit and so I walked over and stood next to her and leaned on the rail. We didn’t look at each other and I didn’t say anything. I just watched the gymnastics with her. It was only about a minute but it seemed much longer when she turned her head just slightly towards me. It broke my heart to see her face like that. I could tell she wanted to say something but it was hard for her. She looked down again and then she said, quietly and slowly, “I can’t wait to get in the gym Monday night”. I took her chin in my hand and lifted her head up. I paused for a moment and then said to her ”I can’t think of a single better thing you could have said just now”. She smiled a little, looked down for a moment, then looked up to watch the gymnastics. The splotches on her face faded.
Persistence is one of best things kids learn from sports.