Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Hard Decisions...

A couple of years ago we decided to start Kylie in gymnastics. And not at just any gym, but at Buckeye Gymnastics, which has a great program and trains everyone from preschoolers to boys to competitive trampoline to girls in the super high levels. Being a former gymnast myself, I was so excited!

And I was super happy when she loved it. She was doing cartwheels and handstands all over the place, and at gymnastics she was flying through the classes. In the preschool gym the classes are set up by age. So when our little 3 year old was too good for the classes for her age, they moved her up with the 5 year olds. And then when she was too good for that, they made the decision to move her over to the “big gym” where the beginning class started at age 7. Only she wasn’t in the beginning class…she skipped over two classes.

She was nervous at first, but she had Ms. Laura, who held her hand on the beam for an entire 8 week session because Kylie had never been on a high beam before. She made friends…there was a girl in her class that was in second grade at her school, so they were fast friends. Kylie was doing great. After a while we decided to put her in two classes a week, because she loved it so much! Then, last year, the pulled her out and had her join a special class called “mini stars,” which were kids that they were getting ready to join team. They worked a little harder on form and actually did a little bit of conditioning and flexibility.

Then in July we got the letter stating that she was being asked to join team. Competitive team. She would start at level 2 and probably move up to level 3 by Christmas. I was so excited for her! However, the downsides starting pouring in…she has to practice at the other gym, which is 20 – 25 minutes away instead of 5 like we were used to; it was more expensive; the practices were 1 ½ hours 2 days per week. When she moved up to level 3 it would be 2 hours 2 days per week.

It’s like we hit a brick wall. All of a sudden we were faced with wondering if this was the wise thing for us to do for her. She would be giving up 2 weeknights to gymnastics. She’s in first grade this year…there will probably be some homework. And school is now all day everyday…that in itself will be a huge adjustment for her. Will she be pushed too hard? She is only 6…

But…gymnastics is a sport that is much, much easier the younger and smaller you are. So would we be doing her a disservice if we didn’t do this right away? Would she resent us holding off if she does continue the sport because she would know that she could have been so much better? There’s no doubt that she will get much better training and coaching on team because of the intensity and length of the practices. Is this a good thing or a bad thing?

Buckeye does have a recreational team…not as high stress, only for fun, don’t work on techniques and form quite as hard…but again, if she wants to do competitive gymnastics in the future, this would not help her.

We went and looked at another gym that is closer to our house…she really liked the girls and the coaches, but John and I didn’t feel that they were as adequate as Buckeye. And if we’re going to be paying the same amount of money, we want the best coaches. This other gym actually even practices longer than Buckeye, so in the end, I think it would be harder on her.

It’s so hard. I’ve said it over and over again…physically taking care of kids (changing diapers, sleep deprivation, potty training, etc.) is not hard. But worrying about their direction in life, making sure they are on the right path, worrying about childcare and school…those are the things that make being a parent so difficult! I just wish someone would come and tell me what to do. Kylie’s not old enough to understand what she would be giving up if she joins team. All she knows is that she loves gymnastics, and she really doesn’t understand why this is such a hard decision.

As of now, I think we’re going to start her on team at Buckeye, and then keep a close eye on her and if it’s too much, pull her out. But that plan may change tomorrow :)


Amy W said...

I think you are making a good decision. I would definitely try the team out and see how she does.

Sherry said...

I agree, try it first to see how she likes it. It may be a bit too much for her you know? She sounds like an awesome gymnist and if it's meant to be, then yep you will feel it, know it and have faith to trust when the time comes to advance her. Not much help to you I know, but being only 6, don't put too much on her so she eventually feels it a chore instead of a joy to go.

Christy said...

Ug, I know your struggles here! I didn't do gymnastic, but competitive Synchro swimming. I spent most of my young life in the middle competitive sport, trying to balance school, swimming, family and friends. We aren't at the place with Lilly yet, but even with her dance classes I can feel things progressing. My biggest fear is that I will put my own personal, pressure on her one day. That is my biggest fear as a parent.

I would go with it for now, watch how she does and how she handles it. You won't know until you try it, right? Good luck!