Judah has been taking gymnastics for about a year and a half now. He tried soccer, thought about karate, took a few sessions of swim lessons and then settled on gymnastics; an obvious conclusion. What started out as a simple interest in tumbling around on some mats has turned into an obsession with climbing/pulling up/jumping on anything he comes in contact with.
His first competition took place in December and was a brand new experience, not only for Judah, but for the rest of us in this family who hardly watch sports, let alone compete in them. We had no idea what to expect. I may be new to the gymnastics scene, but I’m guessing the best way to prepare for your first meet does NOT look like this:
1. Attend jr high Christmas event the night before competition and eat as many desserts and candy as possible.
2. Stay up until 10:30pm.
3. Wake up early to attend sister’s Christmas dance performance.
4. Eat Christmas cookies at sister’s dance performance at 9:30am.
5. Fall into a dead sleep on way to gymnastics meet, not dressed in uniform.
6. Be jolted awake by siblings, walk into gym and get whisked away by volunteer to find team (take detour to bathroom to change into uniform. Oops)
Yes, this was a whole new world to us. Fascinating, exhausting, exciting; at least that’s how I felt. After an almost 2 hour warm-up time, the competition was beginning. Judah started out on P Bars (that’s what us gymnastics folks call them), parallel bars, for all you amateurs. We waited to see what number the judges flipped through on their little score cards. 9.6. What?! He’s on his way to the Olympics, obviously. I was so proud.
He moved on to each event; vault, high bar, pommel horse, floor and rings. It wasn’t until his third event that we noticed small black boxes hanging on the wall with some red numbers and names on them. Well, wouldn’t you know. Those boxes were displaying the gymnast’s name, number and score for each event. Brilliant! Right around this same time, I saw lots of parents writing things down on the program; the same program I paid a dollar for, against my better judgement. Turns out, some of these crazy parents actually write down their kid’s scores on each event and keep track of their overall score, or AA (that’s all-around for us smarty-pants gym parents.)
I was learning all sorts of new things, one of them being we knew next to nothing about being parents of a gymnast. Judah, on the other hand, was all business. Even though this was new to him, he followed his coach’s lead and confidently finished all of his events.
The gym that was hosting the meet was slightly disorganized and once everyone had finished their events, tallying up the scores seemed to take forever. Next, we had to sit through a raffle. Don’t get me started. Brutal. Andy suggested we leave. “This is going to take forever,” were his exact words.
“I want to go, believe me, but this is his first meet and we should probably stay, at least for his team’s sake.” I said, as they were reading off the 200th raffle item.
At last, the time had come to give out the medals. We’re not talking just gold, silver, and bronze. They started with 15th place. You heard me right. 15th. I’m not sure what color this medal is. Aluminum? Brass? They began reading off the names and the gymnast would walk forward, accept his medal and stand in his place. Once they got to 6th place, they called out one of Judah’s teammates. Good for him. He got a medal! When it came to 4th place, they called a tie between Judah’s other teammate and another kid.
This meant that both of Judah’s teammates placed and got medals, and Judah would go home with nothing. That didn’t seem to make sense, since I thought Judah’s scores were pretty good. But this was all new to me and I really had no idea how all the other kids were doing.
3rd place was read. 2nd place was read. Then I was sad. Poor Judah. His first competition, his teammates both get medals and he will go home with nothing. He’s going to be so bummed.
“…and the first place, gold medal goes to…from Cascade Elite…Judah Hirschman!”
WHAT??!! Did I really just hear that right? Andy and I looked at each other in shock, screaming, cheering, clapping; basically going nuts. And there was Judah, stepping up on the block, leaning down to get his medal, all business. He glanced over at us with a little smile. It was almost as if it wasn’t a huge surprise to him.
The rest of the night was spent celebrating, calling family, re-living the moment with Judah, and then the poor guy crashing from exhaustion.
We had no idea what that whole day would bring. We told him to do his best, and that he did. On that day, his best was the gold. I’m sure that won’t always be the case, but I do know one thing. Any judgements that I have passed on “crazy sports parents” who scream and yell and act way over-the-top at their kids’ sporting events: My apologies. I now get it.
|Like I said, all business.