Tuesday, January 8, 2013

When Winning Medals Doesn't Feel Good

It's meet season. And this year everything is new. Everything. New level, new skills, new routines, new gym, new colors, new coaches, new teammates and new expectations.

All of this newness created a nervousness like I've never before seen in Alyssa.  The first-meet jitters translated into several uncharacteristic mistakes, and an error in age group assignment which awarded her five medals that really belonged to someone else, had Lys feeling disappointed, embarrassed and guilt-ridden as she left her first level 8 meet.

But like any good athlete, she bounced right back and embraced all of the positives of her accomplishments.

Here she is in the hotel room (the meet was held in Beaverton, OR) getting ready to go:

Pictures we took to show Grandma her meet hair do:

 As soon as we got to the gym, the mother of one of her teammates noticed her name in the program was listed in the 16+ age group.  I quickly brought it to Lys' attention before she went out onto the floor and assumed she then would mention it to her coaches.  (The coaches were at that time busy with the level 7's who were just finishing up in the session previous to Alyssa's.)  The meet started and I didn't give the possibility of Lys being in the wrong age group another thought.
But the mistake was never corrected.  

Bars was her first event.  It's usually her strongest event and though she made an error at the beginning of the set, she saved it and managed to pull together a decent routine.  It earned her a 9.1.  Even with mistakes, I think it's pretty darn amazing how high our tiny girl flies!

Beam was very shaky with two major wobbles and floor would've been gorgeous were it not for a fall on her front pike.  Scores: 8.425 on beam and 8.85 on floor.  Darn those jitters!

But vault was perhaps the event we were most worried about.  She'd been having trouble in practice and just days before the meet, her coaches decided to have her compete a different vault than the one she'd been training.  She did great!  This vault earned a 9.0 and it was a good way to end the meet.

The errors in her routines left her feeling disappointed but that was nothing compared to what was about to happen during the awards ceremony.  When the awards for the 12-13 age group were being distributed, she quickly realized she was not included in them.  (She would've placed 7th on vault and 8th on floor.)  She then realized that she was going to be included in the 16+ age awards which reduced my never-cries, tough-as-nails girl to tears.

I thought my heart would break in two as I saw the pain and embarrassment on her face.  A thoughtful teammate noticed her crying and took her to her coaches.  The mistake was eventually brought to the meet director's attention but not before Alyssa had to stand on the podium as a 16+ year old to accept five new medals that really belonged to someone else. (She placed either 2nd or 3rd on everything in that age group!)

And we think she's freakishly tiny for 12 years old.  Imagine how she looked with the 16+ girls.  Imagine what all the spectators must have been thinking!  Imagine how sad it is for the girl in that age group that didn't get to be awarded those medals that rightfully belonged to her.

She looks 16, don't ya think?

Humiliating.  Embarrassing.  So wrong.  But true to her nature, Alyssa put on such a brave face even though winning those medals felt so awful.

When I finally got to hold her after the meet, she melted into a puddle of tears in my arms.  Poor thing.  It wasn't her fault, yet she felt so guilty.

But like I said, she bounced back quickly.  We watched the videos of each of her routines and pointed out all the great things that she did.  Even if they weren't the routines she'd hoped to do, we still think she's pretty amazing and we couldn't be more proud!

Team AGC--Level 8

Way to go, Lys!

(Thanks to the Childers family for coming to support her.  The meets are long and I know there are many other things they could've been doing but it was so sweet of them to come watch Alyssa.)


Jen said...

What? We missed all that? I'm so sorry that Alyssa had to endure that humiliation. Sort of reminds me when they awarded Ansel the first place prize for his first pinewood derby when we all knew his car came in dead last in every single heat! Good learning experiences. It was fun to come watch her. We are her newest fans! She is an incredible athlete and we are super proud!

Chad said...

Lys, you rock! I am super proud of you! You are gonna keep doing great things!

Mom said...

Lys is GREAT! I can't wait to see you compete next week

Erin said...

So sad that everything got messed up. But I think her routines were great and we all know she'll just keep improving!

Erin said...

P.S. - Took me awhile to figure out that those were curlers in her hair in the first picture. What are those called and where do you get them???

Mom said...

How do we get an AGC sweatshirt?

Michelle said...

I love their under armor warm ups!!!

Great start Alyssa! I think you did amazing!

Lucy said...

As always, her hair looks fantastic!

She looks fabulous on vault and bars. She really is so strong. I'm sorry about her nerves and the mix up with the ages but hopefully she will remember the support of her family and team.

Melissa said...

She is an amazing gymnast and girl!

I enjoyed reading all your Christmas posts. What a fun idea to post a tradition a day. It looks like you guys had a great holiday season!

Craythorn Family said...

It's odd that the judges could look at her as she started each event and didn't put 2 & 2 together before she was completely finished. She is amazing, though, no matter what age group she is competing in!!