Several weeks ago, Natalie suffered a minor injury to her sternum that left her feeling major pain. It was particularly painful on bars and nearly kept her from participating in her sectionals meet. But we enlisted the prayers of our family and friends and after receiving a priesthood blessing, she was able to compete at sectionals (She placed 10th) and qualify for state.
Natalie and buddy, Morgan, anxiously awaiting the announcement of the state qualifiers.
The injury healed fully but something in Natalie still seemed off. Whether it was a lack of focus, determination and/or drive we can't be sure. But it felt like just as her teammates were hitting their stride, Natty was hitting the skids. She once had to stay late at practice because her coaches just weren't seeing what they wanted out of her floor routine.
Her first and only fall of the season--on her cartwheel on beam--at the state meet only added to the disappointment. It was difficult to watch her fall below other competitors that she'd been outscoring all season. It just wasn't how the state meet--the biggest meet of the year--was supposed to go. And she knew it. Which is why she melted into a puddle of tears as soon as it was over.
So here we stand at a fork in the road. Is her heart still in it? Is it just too demanding of a sport that requires more hard work than she's willing to give? Or will this setback only motivate her to refocus and rededicate herself to overcoming obstacles? She really could be great. But she has to want it.
Teammates: Carly, Morgan and Natty
Whatever her decision, we are very proud of Nat. She has had many great reasons to celebrate this season--like two first place finishes! And her team ended up being the state championship team! It was crazy, really. A deja vu of Alyssa's state meet. Her team ended up tying for first and although AGC would've won the tie breaker, our gym's owner decided to share the state title--the exact rare and unlikely scenario that happened with Alyssa's level 8 team this year.
(I'll insert a picture of the state championship team here as soon as I receive a copy of one from a friend.)
Congrats on a great season, Nat. Even if the postseason wasn't what we thought it would be, we still think you are pretty darn amazing.