I had spent countless hours on this decision, and I still did not know what to do. Thinking about sport I loved and the question I asked myself: Did I want gymnastics in my life anymore? I walked into the meeting with my coach, anxiety pumping through my veins. My heart began to beat faster with each step I took. What was she going to say to me? What was I going to say to her? I sat down and looked her in the eyes, and I immediately felt the fourteen years in the sport flood through my heart and mind. I had given gymnastics a second chance. I had given my whole summer trying to get back to where I was two years ago. Could I ever really get back to where I was? Was I ready to say goodbye again? She handed me the floor to pour out my thoughts and feelings. I revealed to her how I was not sure if this sport was right for me anymore. She jabbed back at me with, “You haven’t given it long enough. It is too soon to give up.” I could hear the strain in her voice; this talk was hurting her too. The pain in my heart came out in my eyes as I began to cry. I told her I could not do gymnastics anymore. With each passing second I became more sure of my decision: any desire I felt to do gymnastics was gone. Each time I spoke I became more confident, but she refused to release me from the sport’s grip. Afterall, I was better at goodbyes than her; I had been in this situation before. She told me to take some time to think about my decision, but my mind truly was made up before I had even entered the room. I left the room with a relieved heart and dry tear stains on my face. I walked out of the building for what I thought would be the last time, reminiscing on the many memories. I fled home to my mom and told her I was finished, and she pulled me into a hug filled of love and support. Because my mom is a former gymnast and judge, I knew this goodbye was difficult for her to watch. In my mother’s arms, I felt my world slow down back to a normal speed. In that moment, I forgot the nights I spent in pain and the tears I shed over the sport. In my mind, I thanked gymnastics for making me into who I am, but also for showing me the version of myself I did not want to be. As I pulled back from my mom, I felt the pages of the book of my life turning. I felt this chapter of my life finally come to a close. What I did not know at that time was what was coming next. My former coach presented me with the opportunity to coach gymnastics. I accepted her offer, and I have never looked back. Coaching allows me to give back to the sport that has given me so much. I get to see little girls with the passion and fire for gymnastics that I once had. In the end, I hope I am making my younger self proud, as I am finally at peace with gymnastics again.
November 29, 2017