Saturday, December 17, 2016

Justin Spring Invitational 2016

All three of the kids have done some gymnastics for several years now. Last year, Dema competed at level 5 boys gymnastics and Josie competed at level 2 girls gymnastics for the local CGA team.  CGA puts on a home meet and this is the 10th annual and our third meet with competitive gymnasts. Dema took several months off from gymnastics, but continued to compete in swim and did some cross training so he was able to stay in pretty good shape. He started taking weekly private lessons at CGA and was going to get back on the team, but he decided to not hurry things and so he won't be competing this year. Josie is now in level 3. This means she is in the gym 9 hours a week during the school year and 12 hours a week in the summer. Many gyms in the Chicago area, and even some in our area, have kids her age and level in the gym more, but our coaches believe in a having a balance. Rob and I appreciate that approach. We're not looking for Olympians, we want our kids to have fun, learn to use and work their bodies, and we want them to be safe.

I had to miss Josie's first meet this season because Dema and Parker were performing in Macbeth and  they needed a parent here. I'm the theater loving parent and Rob is the sports loving parent so it made sense for Rob to take Josie to her out of town meet. She had fun with him, but she felt pretty bad about how the meet went overall. This made her nervous for her home meet.

Josie is the third from the left sitting down watching her teammate compete on floor. CGA's level 3 team is so large, they split them up into "shorties" and "tallies" over a dozen girls in each group. Josie is a "shortie". They compete in height order.

Dema enjoying some vegan mac and cheese with peas and pinto beans. Not typical meet food. Josie packs carrot sticks and clementines in her gym back.
She ended up doing great and she was able to pull off some moves she does in the gym, but missed performing during the first meet. She placed in three out of four events and overall.

 Dema was a bit sad to not be competing, but he had fun eating and watching Josie do her thing. Our gym changed the location for the meet this year, which was sad for me because I really like the old gym we've used for years. It is on campus and a historical building with lots of great seating. You could also see boys and girls events at the same time. This year we were at a newer campus gym and the seating was folding chairs, not enough, and you could barely see all the girls compete. In the new space they were able to accommodate more gymnasts and the meet was able to end earlier on Sunday. For those unfamiliar with gymnastics meets, they can go for three days in order to get all the levels boys and girls in so for the hosting team it is a long weekend.
All the team families are expected to volunteer as much as they can. We had a full house with dogs so I couldn't be away from the house for very long. Rob and Parker ended up doing most of the volunteering for family. Parker had a great time helping the judge for one of the boy's events, but it ended up being a long day for him since he had to be there at 8am to volunteer until after noon, then he watched Josie compete, and then helped take down the girl's side of the gym.

This year Dema and Josie wanted to get a picture with Justin Spring. He is the men's gymnastics coach at our local university. He is always so nice to the kids at the meets and gives great inspirational speeches before the awards.
It was a fun, exhausting meet and we're glad to have several weeks before the next one, but Josie is also excited to compete again.

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