“No! It’s not torn! I’m not finished with gymnastics! I’m not done, not yet! No, it can’t be torn! I’m not done!” I protested between tears after the athletic trainer told me he thought I tore my ACL. It was the second meet of my senior season, my final season. I had just had a great meet and I thought it was an amazing start to the year, but turned out to be the end of my twelve year gymnastics career.
Laying on the training table balling, I looked to my assistant coach Bailey Shamion to comfort me and tell me I wasn’t finished. Instead of telling me what I wanted to hear, she took me in her arms and said “we will get through this.” I knew I wasn’t alone.
Knowing my gymnastics career was over, it was difficult to show up to practice. It was a constant reminder I will never do these skills again, and I will never fight for a varsity spot again. The reason I didn’t let this sadness overpower me was due to Bailey. She reminded me I am still a leader on this team, and that the team would benefit from my positivity. She assured me that no matter what injury I had, I was one hundred percent part of this team.
Looking back at high school gymnastics, one of my favorite moments was when Bailey would let me help to choreograph floor routines. It gave me the fun of doing gymnastics while I was out. Bailey is one of those people that could tell the most mundane story but I would end up rolling on the ground laughing. This made choreography with her even more enjoyable. We would make up ridiculous words to go with each dance move to help us remember the routine, the girls thought we were crazy, but we thought we were hilarious.
I thought my senior year of gymnastics was over, but thanks to Bailey it didn’t feel like it was. She gave me something to do at practice, and would value my opinion on girls routines and what corrections I thought they could make. I am so incredibly grateful to have had Bailey by my side.
Bailey even showed me a glimpse into the world of coaching gymnastics and it made me excited for the future, and hopeful that my relationship with gymnastics won’t end with an injury, but continue by helping others fall in love with this sport that I love so deeply. I even told Bailey I would help out coaching with the summer gymnastics program. I hope that one day I could even coach side by side with Bailey, to coach with an amazing mentor and person I look up to. So thank you Bailey, for being the reason I didn’t fall out of love with gymnastics, but for giving me a reason to love it even more.