Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Justin Spring Invitational 2015

Last year was Dema's first year as a competitive gymnast and this year Josie joined him. They both competed in the JSI meet which is hosted at our local college campus and our gym organizes the event. This means full family participation because most of the work is done by parent volunteers. I love the home meet because of the gym (historic old building) and the ease of getting to and from the meets, but also the kids have a lot of freedom when they aren't competing to hang out together and the lack of entrance fees means it is easy to watch as much gymnastics as one wants to watch.
Josie talking with one of her coaches after her belly flop on the vault.
We joined CGA (their gymnastics gym) because it was walkable from our house. We were still car-free back then and it seemed like a good exercise for the kids. They also had homeschool classes during the day for a wide range of ages for the kids could participate together. The gym is a pretty nice place to hang out and I didn't mind spending quite a few hours there. Fast forward a couple years and Josie spends six hours a week (three days), Dema is there nine hours a week (three days), and Parker is there an hour a week. I drop and run now and rarely stay. The coaches keep us coming back. There have been times when I didn't agree with certain things, but overall they care deeply about the kids and their safety. Winning is not their top priority and this is a plus for us. I am still quite conflicted about competitive sports and I could not stomach a high pressure gym.
Josie on the 2nd place podium for bars. 
Josie showing off her medals. She medaled in everything, except vault.
This might have been Dema's worst meet in many ways. Josie competed on Saturday late morning and Dema competed first thing Sunday morning. Our neighbors had a little birthday get together Saturday evening and none of us were in bed before midnight. Lack of sleep combined with the challenging aspects of the level 5 routines made for some of his lowest scores ever, but it isn't all about the scores.  Dema stuck his back handspring on his floor routine, something that had him worried all week. He also is improving on the pommel horse and mushroom. His rings were his strength last year and while they still look good, his high beam is looking like it might be his new high point.
Dema with his vault medal looking like a gymnast.
I prefer watching male gymnastics to female...shh! don't tell Josie. The boys have six events to the girls' four events and it is almost like they are completely different sports from the way they are scored to the emphasis on strength for the boys and the overwhelming emphasis on sparkle for the girls. I love not having to deal with Dema's hair and the male uniforms look so much more functional and comfortable. So far, I think gymnastics has been a very positive part of all three of our kids' lives. Parker uses gymnastics as a weekly workout and Josie would spend every day in the gym if she could, where Dema has a more balanced view. Their vegan lifestyle does come up from time to time with the coaches or the other gymnasts, but clearly being vegan athletes comes pretty naturally to them and they are comfortable with that role.

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