How Would You Enhance the Community

December 6, 2011
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“Miss. Devin, watch this! Miss. Devin! Miss. Devin, watch!” “Yes Tegean, I’m watching,” I say as I turn to watch the little, two-foot-nothing girl in the black cheetah leotard attempt, once again, a forward somersault. And, once again, I watch her splat flat on her back on to the floor mat.

I have been doing gymnastics for twelve years. After going through every class in the system, the thought of coaching my own classes sounded easy. I’ve worked with children before, but that didn’t prepare me for being plopped in the middle of eight girls eager to learn gymnastics. On my first day, when I saw the chaos, my head spun. While watching the girls dive head first into the floor drained the color out of my face, it was a blast for them. I was thrown in, but I was prepared.

Gymnastics is about discipline and focus, and I was going to instill those traits in these athletes like they had been instilled in me. I am helping these girls shape themselves for the future even if they don’t know it yet. For an hour and fifteen minutes a week, I teach them lessons that apply to life. When all the flipping and spinning of gymnastics is so new, it can be scary. It can also be fun. Either way, I’m there for each gymnast, regardless of their mental and physical fears protecting my students and preparing them for the next step. In a sport that is based around falling, they can learn to be aware of their surroundings and what to do when they fail. These are lessons they take with them throughout their lives.

I work with these girls and when they think they’re simply learning fundamentals, they’re also creating their character. Untimely my coaching of these five-year-olds strongly affected my own personal growth and theirs as well.

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