I know I haven't updated this story in a while. If you're not up to date, or just started reading (hello!), read these first:
How I got here: Capital, the beginnings and Level 7
Shortly after I watched Lord of the Dance for this first time, I moved from my home in Arizona to where I am now in Virginia. With that came a whole new climate, a new school, and most importantly a new gym.
The very first time I walked into Capital Gymnastics NTC, I was scared and intimidated. My little gym in Arizona only had a women's program. This new gym not only had a women's program, but also men's, cheer, and tumbling. I was amazed at how big the facility was, and how much equipment and people it could hold. It felt so foreign and strange to me. This gym meant serious business.
Among the lines of serious business: the coaches. My very first impression was one of fear. They all spoke Russian. They all had accents. They all seemed so harsh and unforgiving from the outside. The first coach I met was Tatiana. My coach Neela wrote her a letter of recommendation about me and possibly my family. She invited us in, wanted to know what skills I was working on, and sent me to a group with other girls working towards level 7. Her demeanor was serious, and one of having other, more important things to do, though we were treated quite nicely.
Also along the lines of serious business: my new teammates. They all seemed so focused. They all were so good, so strong. I soon discovered this tough, serious demeanor was only a front. They were just goofy kids like me, only they couldn't show it for fear of being sent to climb the rope, or even get kicked out of practice.
That first summer there was probably one of the most difficult for me. Not only was I getting acclimated to a new gymnastics environment, but I was learning new level 7 routunes, trying to figure out how not to get yelled at by the newest coach Alex (more about that later). By the end of the summer, though, I did have my stuff together and was ready for my first season as an optional gymnast. I was slowly but surely becoming more athletic, powerful, and polished. That season was right at the beginning gymnastics heyday: I loved what I was doing, I was having fun, and my life was going great.
Level 7 highlights reel
Vault: As in Arizona, I was a pretty strong vaulter.
Bars: By far my weakest event. While my teammates were learning giants, I was still trying to get over my fear of fly-aways. By the end of the season (which is when this clip is from), I got them, and my score improved by a whole point.
Beam: Aside from mental issues, my beam routines were improving. Check out my face after I see my score. This was probably the highest I'd ever scored on this event at that time. Note the disbelief.
Floor: Definitely my best event. I was a strong dancer and tumbler. (Irish dancers pay attention: I was doing birdies long before I was dancing!)
Goals: Get hornpipes smoother