For as long as I can remember, gymnastics has been my world. I belong to a YMCA team in Ardmore, Pa. The Y was being knocked down and turned into condominiums in favor of a new local Y. This new Y didn’t want a gymnastics program because they thought that gymnastics was a “dying sport.”
I can still remember my coach telling us that our program was being shut down. I can still feel that powerlessness.
But, like skating, gymnastics is a sport in which life lessons often transcend training.
Gymnastics introduced me to the people who taught me how to Get Up. I have nothing but the utmost respect and love for my coaches. They shaped me into the athlete and the person that I am today. Gymnastics gave me my best friends, and helped me to find my best self.
Our group’s incredible parents took up their voices and, finally, negotiated so that we could train at an offsite location. To this day, our “gym” is a set-up, take-down facility. These processes demands great strength, both physically and mentally.
These conditions are far from ideal. We have risked and suffered injuries, and lost teammates to other programs; all as a result.
But a world where gymnastics is dying is a world in which I do not want to live. So I Get Up, and do what I can.
My team shares a love like nothing I have ever known. We are state champions, and we are everyday superheroes. We have next to nothing, but everything to show for it.
You can knock us down, and we will fall. But then, we will rise. And we will never settle. We will set goals and continue to exceed them. We will always, always Get Up.
We will have a permanent gym one day. Gymnastics isn’t going anywhere.