A Rectial, and a goodbye to my past.

12:43 PM

Cameryn had her first gymnastics recital on Saturday.  Life has come full circle.  I was a gymnast.  I was a coach.  I am now a parent, cheering her on from the bleachers.  I am sensitive to the fact that I know how each skill should look, I don't coach Cameryn at home, unless she asks.  I'm not that parent that is critical of every move they make, trying to make her perfect at a sport that is obviously for fun.

Yet, I was so extremely disappointed in the recital.  I worked at the gym for 8 long years.  Coaching, mentoring, training, and being a friend to every single child that walked through the door.  I know the curriculum.  I know the reason for the recital.  I know how awesome it is for each child to receive their trophy at the end.  I never, ever expected Cameryn to be so miserable for an hour.  I never, ever expected myself to feel so helpless, so angry, and so stuck. 


The kids were split into two groups for the recital, so that each coach could have 5-6 kids to work with, as expected.  Cameryn's coach wasn't there, as expected.  Unexpectedly, she was placed with a group of girls, though classified as the same class, they were obviously not on the same level.  I watched these girls perform skills way beyond what Cameryn was capable of.  I watched the coaches and their faces confused as to why Cameryn was unable to perform them with the same ease and grace as the other five kids.  I watched parents not clap as hard for Cameryn when she was finished with her skills as they did for the other kids and my heart ached.  I actually called Cameryn out of the recital at one point to explain to her that when the coaches said "finish"  that they actually meant "salute."  Why didn't the coaches explain this to her?  By the third event my blood was flowing faster, I was growing more and more agitated and I considered pulling her from the recital all together.


I didn't.  Because this was her moment to shine.  Her moment to show off what she had learned.  She was obviously uncomfortable and not having fun, but until she stated that she wanted to leave, I wasn't going to remove her from the situation.

Finally, we were all put out of our misery and it was time for the trophy ceremony.  The sports director (who I did not work with while I was there, but knows that I was a former coach/manager) walked up to me with a smile and said, "So, how did it go?"  I tried to control my anger because this was a public place and I wasn't about to ruin the experience for the other girls, so I replied, "Not good.  These girls are obviously at a higher level than Cam."

Her reply absolutely floored me.  "They're the advanced kids."

"So why put Cameryn in the same group? There was another group that she could have been placed in.  These girls were performing skills that she had no idea how to do.  Pullovers on bars.  Roundoffs without a mat.  Side handstands on beam.  That's not okay.  These girls are obviously at a yellow level." 

The yellow level is two levels above Cameryn.  I was being generous with this statement, because these girls were even above that level.

"Those are red level skills, not yellow.  I didn't have another place to put Cameryn, there wasn't another option."

I know red level skills.  I WROTE THEM.  I knew they were doing these skills and like I said, I was being generous.  Red level is four levels above Cameryn.  Tell me how this makes sense to ANYONE.

"Yes, there was another option.  There was another group of kids on the other side of the gym.  Don't ever tell me there isn't another option.  There's always another option.  These girls are not at her level.  She was miserable.  The entire situation was unfortunate."

And I left it at that and I walked away because I had nothing nice to say to her.  The sports director obviously didn't give two shits about my kid. She obviously didn't care one bit that Cameryn was made to look like a fool.  By this time Cameryn was up to receive her trophy.

That picture brings tears to my eyes.  That is not a picture of a child who is excited about what she had accomplished during her year of gymnastics.  That is not an accurate picture of my child's normal, happy disposition. 

She came over to me and I said what every parent would have, "GREAT JOB!  I am SO proud of you!'  And I was.  I was proud that she stuck it out.  That she finished what she started.

She was excited about her trophy.  This was the first smile that I saw the entire time.  When it was over.

I asked her if she had fun and she said NO with a big, giant frown.  Never in my life have I heard her say that about an activity that she had always enjoyed.  She's four, everything that is supposed to be fun, is.

I called the general manager on the way home, whom I have known and worked with for years, and let her know about the situation.  She was just as confused as I was.  I assume that she will have something to say to me tomorrow at class.

 I am addressing the siuation with the owners as well.  I expect a full apology and to be refunded the amount of the recital, minus the trophy.  I don't think that is unreasonable.  I'm disappointed that Cameryn was put in that situation. I'm disappointed that my child didn't have fun when she should have. I'm sad that an establishment that I have always respected let me down in a big, big way.  We have classes for two more weeks and, like always, Cameryn will attend only if she wants to go.  She's swimming over the summer and wants to play soccer in the fall so she can finish out her year of gym and be done if she chooses.

I'm not pushing for her to return to gymnastics at this location even though my past is there.  Because now, that's how I feel about this gym, it's part of my past.  So many memories, so many experiences, so many wonderful people are a part of my life because of this gym.  I hate that Cameryn will never get to experience that here.  But there is another gym full of warm, welcoming hearts that will be happy to have my smiling girl and make her a part of their community.  And if Cameryn chooses to continue gymnastics, that's where we'll be.

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