Sunday, June 8, 2008

2008 National Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships...

I just got home from Nationals in Montreal and for the first time ever I was just a spectator. My 12th National Championships and I was sitting in the stands. It's honestly really hard for me to even write that let alone say it. I never thought it would affect me like this. As I sat there, surrounded by all these families and friends, I realized what life is like on the other side and I did not like it. Don't me wrong, I loved watching the girls and cheering on my teammates, but I wanted to be one of them not just another fan. I never thought that being on the sidelines just this once in my career would upset me so much. It's not about defending my title or the attention, but missing out on that feeling I get in front of a home crowd; That adrenaline pumping through me while I'm performing just for the pure love of my sport and nothing else. Internationally, the stakes are higher, there is more pressure and you don't have the support of a community that has watched you grow and mature since you were a little girl. I have been competing for Canada since I was 9 years old and I will cherish the memories I have had at every Nationals forever.

The competition over last weekend was held in the Olympic park Stadium where ironically enough I won my first National Title at 11 years old. It was a very emotional weekend you could say the least. As I watched the younger athletes compete, I saw myself out there. It was the strangest feeling. I couldn't help but reminisce about the past. The last twelve years of my life all of a sudden felt like they had flown by and here I am two months away from the Olympic Games.

If I hadn't been working towards making the Olympics since I was a little girl maybe I would've risked competing on an injury. But the past couple of weeks I've been struggling with a torn ligament in my ankle and it's just not the year to risk anything, even though I wanted to so bad. As I'm writing this now my ankle is almost back to 100% and I'm in the gym pushing myself as usual. Well, technically I'm supposed to be taking it easy, but that's just not how I train. If I'm in the gym, I'm there to work. From my own experience, whenever you're cautious and thinking too much about not getting hurt in the gym, you always do. I think I'm old enough and hopefully mature enough to know my body and know when it's telling me to stop. And if by any chance I'm just being myself and pushing too hard, my coach is always there to tell me to calm down! Which funnily enough, happens more often than not.

So even though it was incredibly difficult for me to watch this years Nationals go by, I couldn't be more proud of my teammates and all the gymnasts that competed over the weekend. I wanted to congratulate each and every one of them for going out there and giving it their all. I am extremely jealous that I couldn't be among them, but in the end it made me more motivated to get out there and compete the next time. Thanks girls!

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