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
About the Author
Coach 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!