|First place in the vault!|
Claire’s been in gymnastics for about a year and a half and has been expressing interest in being able to compete. She’s extremely competitive by nature, and when she’s good at something, she’s confident about her abilities without being boastful or proud. It’s just a matter of fact. So, when her gym offered a mini meet for students who weren’t at competitive levels yet, Claire very subtly begged (yes, that’s possible) to be able to enter. As a competitive person in my own sphere, I think a little friendly competition once in a while is good for people. I signed her up and surprised her the next morning, reminding her that she was going to have to work extra hard in class to be able to do well.
|After her nervousness wore off, she was all smiles.|
As much as Claire was excited to participate, I was even more excited to watch. I don’t get to see her practice as regularly as I used to because Kate has ballet the same night. I could tell she’d been ultra-focused in class though–I’d catch her running through her floor exercise or she’d talk through her bar routine. She kept most of her jitters under wraps but when she’s nervous, she looks like a deer in the headlights.
|Warming up for the vault.|
Just like Kate’s ballet recital and Evelyn’s swim meet, the whole family came out to support Claire. Even though I brought her late (totally my own stupid mistake–sorry Claire!), she warmed up and got in line with the rest of the girls in her level and got ready to compete.
First up was the vault, where they did a jump, handstand, and landed on their backs. Nothing fancy, but I imagine a vast majority of people can’t even do that. 😉 She worked hard on keeping those toes pointed, legs straight, and ankles together. Then, she moved on to her favorite event–the bars. She isn’t the most flexible girl in her level but she is definitely the strongest. She can do chin up pullover back hip circle like nobody‘s business. Sometimes, she casts her legs back so far that instead of one hip circle, she does two or three before she stops herself. She almost did that on her bars routine, but managed to pull out of it before it got out of control. See?
Bars are definitely her favorite followed by her least favorite: the beam. When she first started gymnastics, she could barely walk across the beam without waving her arms, tilting back and forth, and inevitably fall off. Now she can do all kinds of fancy stuff without tumbling off.
The routine she was most nervous for was the floor. She had practiced and practiced being able to do her bridge kick over and she managed it!
The whole event lasted a couple of hours and though it’s not easy for the siblings to watch each other compete, they manage to entertain themselves during the downtime.
|Pockets are amazing.|
When Claire got up to take their turn, they’d all watch attentively, cheer wildly for her, then settle back into whatever they were doing to occupy their in-between time.
When all the girls were done competing, the spectators were called into the gym for the awards ceremony. The kids couldn’t help but get their hands on some of the equipment Claire uses in training. Of course, their technique in gymnastics is a bit lacking.
When they started the awards ceremony, Claire was shocked to have her name called up to the first place podium–she’d won first for the vault!
More than winning, it was so fun to see Claire excel in her sport of choice. Her hard work was rewarded, she had fun, gave high fives to her teammates, and got a taste of what it’s like to put her skills to the test. Already looking forward to her next competition and what she’ll improve by then!