I can't fully imagine what Gabby Douglas' mom has gone through as she watches her baby girl doing what she loves - GYMNASTICS.
I was a gymnast's mom. My daughter, Jarebear once was following close in Gabby's shoes. She was training at a US Gymnastics training facility with the full focus from her coaches, that the Olympics was her goal. Then, the unthinkable happened...a vault accident that injured two vertebrae in her spinal area. The blessing in that was had it been a inch closer to her spine, it would've had a horrible ending.
Like Gabby's mom, I never imagined my Jarebear to get as far as she did. I enrolled her in gymnastics after seeing how shy yet limber she was at the age of 3. She possessed bravery the very first time she was placed on a high beam, at 4 years old, by waiting until the coach looked away to turn a cartwheel on the beam and literally stick it! Before class was over, the trainers were asking if we would consider her training at their facility. USA gymnastics training centers are expensive...an expense at the time, we couldn't afford so we turned down the offer, keeping her at a parks and rec tumbling program. It was a year later that we decided that we would pinch pennies if we needed to to make her dream come true.
The hours of training were long...5 days a week, 4 1/2 hours a day. The training facility was 90 minutes away. The silver lining was that she was homeschooled so while I worked away from home, she did her schoolwork and I'd come home, grab her schoolwork to correct and head back out the door to the gym. We'd come home at 10:30 pm, ready to go to bed, then get up and start the process all over again.
The hard parts of being a gymnast mom were watching as she was injured and not being allowed on the gym floor to comfort her. The coaches forbid the parents to be "parents" when their child was training. Complete trust was in the coach that they would make sound decisions on what was good for my daughter.
My heart went out to gymnasts who were afraid to do certain skills and as they cried, the coach often yelled at them for being afraid. It was easy to use one gymnast to compete against another gymnast.
When a gymnast did horrible during a competition, the coach often gave the gymnast the silent treatment, making sure the gymnast knew that they had to try better the next time around.
I saw gymnasts go through complete emotional breakdown over being chewed out for gaining weight after their daily weigh in.
I witnessed parents yelling at their child for not doing good enough to get the coach's attention.
I saw girls training with an injury, afraid to tell the coach for fear that they wouldn't be able to compete that week in a competition.
I heard gymnasts cutting one another down instead of lifting one another up because when it was all said done, they were competing not only as a team but also individually.
****More to come....stay tuned.....******