Little T started gymnastics last year when she was four. She didn’t cry the first time she went, but her sleeve was so wet, you see, she likes to chew on her sleeve when she’s nervous.
It’s been over a year now since she started. Some of her friends from her school joined her last year, but even though they seemed to enjoy it, they found it a little bit too much for them. Which I found a bit baffling. I don’t want to sound as if I’m undermining my child, but I know my own daughter. She is a lot like me – shy and not very forwarding. At first glance, you’d think she doesn’t have much confidence, unlike her friends. But it turned out her friends who seemingly are more confident than T, didn’t last at her gymnastics class. They just couldn’t handle it. When they quit, I was worried that T would too. But she persevered.
Before we went on our summer holiday last year, one of the senior coaches approached us and she said that they wanted to start training T for competitions when she turns six, but she’d have to do two hours of training. We said we’d ask T and see what she thought of it. To our surprise, T seemed keen to start training. But we decided that she’d start the two hours after the summer break.
I’ll be honest, six months on after starting with two hours of gymnastics every Friday, I don’t see much change in T. She still doesn’t have the strength in her legs and arms unlike the other girls who can do multiple, cartwheels, backflips and somersaults. T still looks a bit clumsy and frail compared to them. To be fair though, she is the youngest in her group.
I spoke to her coach about this last week and I told her that I think the group is much too advanced for her age and capabilities as a beginner. Her coach agreed with me, but she said the thing with T is that she is hanging on, doing what she’s told, as much as she can. I asked her if it would be better for T to go back to just doing one hour. She said it was up to us.
Again, we talked to T about it and to my surprise she was adamant that she wanted to stay in her group. I was immensely proud of my little girl but at the same time I wanted to cuddle and protect her and try to convince her to just do the one hour. But we never go against what our little girl wants, especially when it comes to her own choices of activities to do.
At this point though, I don’t really care if she’s going to be a top gymnast and win medals and do cross-country competitions. At the moment, what’s important to me is that she’s having fun and most especially she’s learning major life skills at such an early age – discipline and sticking to something in spite whatever fears she has in her little heart. You don’t just quit and give up because you’re afraid of something, you persevere. And that to me is more important than winning competitions or doing multiple cartwheels.
What about you?
Did you ever excel at any sport?
I was never good at any sport. My husband though played football, cricket and fencing at university.