Gymnastics | Teen Ink


June 2, 2008
By Anonymous

For my seventh birthday, my mom gave me the opportunity to decide what sport I wanted to start. I wanted the most exciting and unusual sport, one not many people played. When it finally came time to tell my mom my choice, I saw a sign that said “gymnastics” and thought that would be fun. My mom was shocked by my decision. She though I would pick something like soccer or swimming.

I was signed up to start my first session for the following week at New England Gymnastics Training Center in Hudson, New Hampshire. I was required to go through a series of tests to determine if I was capable of going straight to the team, or if I would have to start at the very beginning: level one. Tim, the owner of the gym, was the one who conducted the tests. I went into the tests thinking it would be fun and we would just talk and laugh, but it turned out to be the exact opposite. Still, I managed to get into level four, which is when the team begins.

Adam and Sara were my two coaches. I went into my first practicing again thinking all of us were going to joke and fool around. Once again I was proven wrong. We had very strict rules to follow. If we were waiting to take a turn on the event we had to stand up straight with our hands on our hips; we weren’t allowed to talk excessively. At NEGTC, the coaches tried to keep us disciplined. They thought we would learn more easily if we matured quickly; they were right. We won every single team meet, and I placed first on every event in my age group. There was a running joke throughout the New Hampshire private gyms; they would always refer to us as “robots”, or say that we looked like a group of mini-soldiers.

Even though Adam and Sara were very tough on us, we still enjoyed some fun times at the gym. They held lock-ins, when we went to the gym at around six pm and stayed until about eleven pm. There were games and trophies for the winners. They also held sleepovers, which everyone looked forward to. We spent more time at the gym than at home and saw the coaches more often than we saw our parents, so they really tried to become our families by doing fun things with us. They did not want to be known just as the people who disciplined and yelled at us.

Being at NEGTC has made me mature very quickly. The coached taught me self-discipline and a good work ethic. Since they were so tough on us, it made me become hard on myself, which shows mostly in school. If I don’t get my homework done for one class, or if I get a low test score, I become very hard on myself and force my self to do better next time. I can still remember the lectures Adam and Sara gave us, and I use those to motivate myself today. They have, so far, been the greatest influences in my life.

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