It's that time of year again! Now is the time where we pause and give thanks to the people, tangible things, and intangible experiences that have enriched our lives. There are so many things that I am thankful for, and a great deal of them have to do with gymnastics.
1. I'm forever thankful for a long gymnastics career that I was able to retire from on my own terms, in the best possible way.
2. I'm thankful for my parents, who have supported my gymnastics in all its phases, starting from day 1. They were there when I would win, they were there when I would lose, they were there to take me to the emergency room, and to hear the sometimes devastating diagnoses that would derail my gymnastics (even if temporarily). They were there to send me off to college, and they were there to drive 8 hours to upstate New York multiple times to watch me compete 2 events. They were there when I would fall, and they were there when I would rise. They were there when I saluted the judge for the last time and when I cried when it was over. And now, long after my leotards have been stored away, they are still there, coming to watch my Spectrum girls compete, supporting my passion and a new generation of gymnasts.
3. I'm thankful for my (now) husband, Ryan. In the 11 years he has known me, gymnastics has always been the biggest part of my life. In fact, it was my back flips into a pool that enchanted him so long ago. He came to watch me compete for the first time probably in 2004 or 2005 when I was 14/15. He was my shoulder to cry on when stress fractures in my back kept me out of the sport for 5 months, and even took a pack of sharpies and colored all over my hideous plaster back brace. He has been dragged to more gymnastics meets than I could count over the years, begrudgingly agrees to watch it with me when it's on TV, and has suffered through endless rants and raves, whether due to my own frustrations as a gymnast, a poor Fantasy Gymnastics score, or how upset I am that Simone Biles only got the bronze. Most of all, he has always supported me, and has always been the one to tell me that I could do anything I set my mind to, Oh and, he agrees to take stupid pictures of me doing handstands wherever I go.
4. I'm thankful for all the lifelong friends I've made through gymnastics, and all the connections I've made through the sport that stretch across the country. The sport of gymnastics is really one giant family.
5. I'm thankful to have a job doing something that I love. You know the phrase, "do what you love, love what you do"? I love gymnastics. I feel most comfortable and most at home in a gym. Can it be exhausting? Sure, but so can any job. And truth be told, I hit the jackpot working at Spectrum. Every gym is different, and every gym has their own philosophy on the sport. My philosophy on gymnastics matches that of Spectrum's, and so it was a very seamless transition to start coaching. I am also lucky to have the opportunity to coach so many wonderful young ladies, and to have the opportunity to be an intricate part of their lives. Girls who were in middle school when I first met them are now driving themselves to practice and asking me to be a reference on job applications, which totally blows my mind. The team threw me this crazy surprise party a few days before my wedding and it allowed me to really step back and realize how lucky I am, and how special they are. And most of all, the staff at Spectrum have become an extended family to me, because we spend SO much time together. They have been there for me through so many life changes, and they love and accept me for who I am, and I could not ask for a better group of people to work with every day. There are so many people in this world who go to work everyday, doing a job they hate with people they despise. That is not me, and for that I am thankful.
6. I'm thankful to everyone who helped me achieve my dream of earning my Level 10 judging rating in just 3 years. To Diane, without whom I would have never made it this far. To Mitch and Jackie, for encouraging and mentoring me, To Elyse, who would read off my flashcards to me during our lunch breaks. To Ryan, for the many "You CAN and you WILL" lectures when I would tell myself I would never be good enough or smart enough to pass, and for putting up with my ridiculous Type A, perfectionist self.
7. Finally, I'm thankful for this sport. Gymnastics has given me everything, and has helped mold me into the person I am today. It has given me valuable life experiences that have equipped me with the tools I need to conquer the world if I wanted to. It has given me a passion, a purpose, and something to believe in. It has given me my life.
What are you thankful for?
Peace, love, gymnastics, and gratitude,
Spectrum Gymnastics Academy
26 Buttrick Rd
Oh boy, time to blow the dust off the blog. Nearly four months with no posts? Yikes! So sorry! Fall was just a *little* crazy for me.
Where to begin? First of all, a belated WELCOME BACK! It's been a great couple months so far. We have a TON of full classes, and even added more to accommodate the demand. Our Xcel team has nearly tripled in size, our JO team is throwing some pretty high level gymnastics, and team USA brought home team gold at the World Championships, and Simone Biles became the first woman in history to win three consecutive world all-around titles. Simone now also holds more world medals than any other female gymnast, as she added team gold, all-around gold, vault bronze, beam gold, and floor gold to her ever growing collection. We are watching living history with Simone Biles, who is well on her way to being the greatest female gymnast of all time (but I think she's already captured that title). Could we watch her next summer add some Olympic medals to her collection? Let's hope!
Challenge of the Month Club
Last year we did monthly challenges to kind of spice up our recreational classes. We've kept them around this year and are so pleased with the results! September's challenge was 20 push-ups in 30 seconds, October's challenge was a full split, and "Ninja November's" Challenge is a straddle through vault, So why the challenges? Don't worry, there's a method to our madness. Let's start with the push-ups. Why push-ups? Not every kid who walks through our doors is going to be a competitive gymnast, and truth be told, competitive gymnastics is not the be-all and end-all of the sport. We are trying to foster a love of fitness, of well-being, of personal health, and of course, of gymnastics. Upper body and core strength is important for anyone, and both of those are trained through the practice of push ups. The greatest thing about gymnastics: is that it is truly the foundation of all sports. It requires strength, coordination, agility, spacial awareness, hand-eye coordination, and flexibility, which leads me to the October challenge of splits. Flexibility is good for the muscles and the joints as it enables us to move more freely, and we all know how important movement is! Finally, why the straddle through vault? Well, why not? It's fun! The straddle through vault brings us coaches back to the "old days" of gymnastics where the vault was a "horse", not the table we have today, and the straddle through was a very popular recreational vault. Thanks to the popularity of American Ninja Warrior (and do you notice how many former gymnasts are on the show?), the "ninja" craze is bigger than ever. We got some brand new mats specifically for ninja obstacles last month, and so, "Ninja November" was born!
But the best thing about our challenges is that what it brings out in our students. Push-ups and splits are HARD. That's why these are "Challenges" of the month, not "Skills" of the month. What we see in the students is remarkable: many show incredible determination and to achieve the challenge and earn their spot on the TV montage. They worked hard, practiced at home, and many were able to achieve their goal through hard work. Working hard to achieve goals and persevering through things that are challenging are life lessons that we are teaching through our incredible sport. Gymnastics is not just about learning how to flip. It is so, so much more, and we hope you are able to see it through your child!
Competition season is upon us! Our JO team, levels 3-8, opened up their season last weekend at the Harvest Classic, hosted by Gymnastics at Brentwood Commons. Many members of the team were competing a new level for the first time, and for most of our level 3s, this was their first meet EVER and they ROCKED it! This meet was unique, because it's a "feedback" meet, meaning that the judges can give feedback from the routines in addition to the score. Coaches were encouraged to talk to the judges (typically a no-no in regular competition) about the routines. We got a lot of good feedback (it's wonderful for us coaches to have 8 different sets of eyes other than our own to give us different perspectives), and walked away with 4 individual all-around champions and a ton of top 3 event finishes!
Here are the full results:
Ashley - 3rd bars, 5th beam, 5th floor, 6th AA
Becca -5th vault, 3rd bars, 6th floor, 5th AA
Chloe - 10th vault, 10th floor, 10th AA
Maddie - 7th beam, 5th floor, 9th AA
Olivia - 5th bars, 4th floor, 7th AA
Emily - 3rd beam, 5th floor, 6th AA
Sophie - 6th floor, 8th AA
Aisling - 4th bars, 10th AA
Aislinn - 2nd vault, 1st bars, 6th beam, 7th floor, 3rd AA
Alanna - 6th vault, 8th AA
Hannah - 1st bars, 2nd beam, 7th floor, 2nd AA
Lilly - 6th vault., 5th bars, 3rd beam, 4th floor, 4th AA
Marissa - 5th beam, 11th AA
Reyanna - 7th bars, 9th AA
Abby - 3rd bars, 4th AA
Lilly - 2nd vault, 1st bars, 2nd floor, 1st AA
Olivia - 8th floor, 12th AA
Ali - 2nd vault, 1st bars, 3rd AA
Amanda - 3rd bars, 7th beam, 1st floor, 3rd AA
April - 8th vault, 6th bars, 4th beam, 5th floor, 7th AA
Ava H. - 5th vault, 4th bars, 6th beam, 6th AA
Ava S. - 2nd vault, 7th bars, 1st beam, 4th floor, 1st AA
Emily - 14th AA
Isabell - 3rd vault, 3rd bars, 4th AA
Isabella - 8th bars, 6th floor, 9th AA
Katie - 8th vault, 8th floor, 10th AA
Lauren - 8th beam, 12th AA
Elise - 1st vault, 1st bars, 3rd beam, 1st floor, 1st AA
Elizabeth - 6th bars, 5th beam, 5th floor, 5th AA
Emma - 2nd bars, 5th AA
Emmelyn - 2nd vault, 2nd bars, 3rd beam, 1st floor, 1st AA
Eres - 4th AA
Kaitlyn - 1st beam, 3rd floor, 3rd AA
Lane - 1st bars, 4th AA
Leanna - 7th vault, 14th AA
Sophia - 6th vault, 3rd bars, 9th AA
Way to go Spectrum! Next meet is the Judges Cup on December 5th and 6th! #teamSGA
Peace, love, and gymnastics,
Spectrum Gymnastics Academy
26 Buttrick Rd
Coach Sarah ran this blog from 2012-2017. Sarah is a former Rhode Island College gymnast, NCGA National qualifier, All-American, current gymnastics coach and judge, and contributor for the gymnastics news source, The Gymternet. Find out what's going on at Spectrum and learn more about the incredible sport of gymnastics!
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Serving the Local Community for over 33 years
Spectrum Gymnastics Academy
26 Buttrick Rd
Londonderry, NH 03053