There are moments in every gymnast’s lives that play back to them over and over again shaping their mind and their memory of themselves as a gymnast. One such memory, I (Jessie) am pleased and grateful to share with one of my former gymnasts, Tessa. This little gymnast (now a grown woman) was always mature beyond her years and taught me, along with many of her teammates, valuable lessons about how to be tough, tender, and talented. She’s a gem and we’re excited she’s come here today to tell us about this memory I speak of. Welcome, Tessa Rees!
I am really excited for this chance to be here on Gym Gab! And I’m especially excited to talk about what we all love: Gymnastics! I look back on my years as a gymnast with so much joy and I often finding myself wishing I could go back to that time. As I reflect on the things I learned as a gymnast, I could go on for hours about things like patience, respect, hard work, positivity, focus, sacrifice, discipline, teamwork, endurance, and so much more. But what I am going to focus on today is endurance. Gymnastics can be a grueling sport. We vault on shin splints, tumble on sore wrists, swing with ripped hands, and condition through burning muscles and tired bodies. We are asked to do 10 more seconds of a handstand, even though our arms are completely fatigued and asking us to STOP! Gymnasts learn to push through soreness, tired muscles, ripped hands, etc. because they know that the benefits of doing so will outweigh the pain, discomfort, and mental fatigue of it all.
I had the awesome opportunity to be coached by your own Jessie Eyre! One day while I was swinging bars during a private lesson with Jessie I got a nasty rip on my hand. She asked me if I would like to stop or keep going and I responded, “I like bars more than I hate rips,” and then kept swinging. Jessie thought that what I said was so cool that she immediately went over and wrote it on the gym’s white board where it remained as a favorite quote at the gym for the next several years! I was so naive at the time and didn’t realize the significance of that statement until later in life.
“I like bars more than I hate rips,”
I see now that as a young gymnast, I was already learning that sometimes we have to do hard things in order to enjoy good and better things. I’ve often thought about this quote throughout my life and find that it applies to countless other things… “I like running more than I hate feeling out of shape” or “I love this little baby more than I hate missing so many hours of sleep!” It works for just about anything!
Later in my gymnastics years my body wouldn’t cooperate and I was plagued with injury after injury. There came a time when I couldn’t just “push through” challenges like I did with the rips I spoke of earlier. I had to sit on the sidelines and wait for injuries to heal again and again and again. At times I just wanted to give up but my love for the sport wouldn’t let me. Through these tough times, I learned how to endure the frustration, work through the discomfort, and push even harder after the injuries healed to get back to where I was. I learned to strive for something that I loved, even when it was a challenge. And that is one of the greatest things about gymnastics; It can be really hard…but it is also filled with SO MUCH happiness and joy! Just like life!!
So, when you watch your son or daughter struggling, aching, and pushing through tears and frustration, remember this: They are learning lessons that will make them better equipped for life. They will be better at pushing through the hard stuff and knowing that it will be worth it.
It was worth it for me.