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I didn't think this day would come

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Ani de Alba

New Member
Sep 5, 2008
21
Tomorrow is a big day for my husband and I, we are going to pull our 11 year old dd out of gymnastics for a while.
She's been doing gymnastics for the last 8 years and has had multiple fractures/sprains and the recovery process has been slow. She missed out last season on very important competitions because of her injuries and she's not as motivated(all mothers out there know it's long hours daily). This is got to be one of the hardest things I've done. I'm having to help her decide on something I'm not even sure of. Her coaches are Cuban and extremely dedicated to the sport and my daughter. Can anyone tell me what happens after sleeping, living, breathing gymnastics for so long?
 
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flippymonkeysmom

Guest
Good luck to you. My dd is also 11 and has had rough year this year with injuries. Right now she has a fractured wrist and she is very frustrated. It is hard to stay motivated when you can't do what you want because of injuries. She is not ready to give it up yet though. We know plenty of people who have and they have all said that after the initial shock of life not revolving around gym, it was actually quite easy to move on. Again good luck to both you and your dd.
 

Gymmonkeymomma

Active Member
Proud Parent
Mar 7, 2008
1,991
Region 7
Country
USA
I wish you and your family luck in finding something for your DD where you will all be happy and hopefully, injury free! My oldest gymnast is also 11 and I have a sinking feeling that her days are numbered, not due to injury but for other reasons. Thankfully I have a younger one in the sport....
 
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BlairBob

Guest
Generally, I notice such gymnasts increasing their social lives. A lot of other times it leads to them trying out other sports or activities they had an interest in but could not. Unfortunately, this is cheer more often that not ( heheh, i dislike cheer ). This can be difficult if their choices are not positive.

Honestly, the only thing I notice with them that can be dehabilitating is the decrease in fitness besides any negative activities. This can lead to image issues at times.
 

gymnomore

Member
Aug 3, 2007
208
I've been through this several times with my children and I can tell you, you'll be just fine. As the old saying goes, When one door shuts, somewhere a window opens. Your dd will find plenty of things to keep her occupied. The last time this happened to me with the youngest dd, the whole routine for me was hard to break. I found myself walking the dog a lot. I had to get up and go every night about the time I normally would leave the house to either take or pick up dd from the gym. As for dd, she was lazy for awhile, taking extra naps after school, but we found that this gave her some time to heal after numerous injuries and body aches. All of a sudden she snapped and decided to get busy like her sisters. There are so many sports out there for former gymnasts to get involved in: diving, track and field sprinting, hurdles, and pole vaulting. Also, she can go the cheerleading route which many girls love. Between my three girls, we are doing all of these sports, and colleges are now interested in the oldest, (who I might add, LOVES being good at a sport that doesn't require a 20 hr a week commitment!). As a parent, it's so much fun to be a spectator in a variety of sports. My husband loves the cheerleading because he not only gets to watch his daughter tumble, but he gets to watch football too! Well, the youngest dd, decided after a 6 month layoff, that gymnastics was what she loved best. So she returned to the sport, about 25 lbs heavier (all muscle- still thin), 4 inches taller, all completely healed, and stronger than ever. Competing was a little rough at first but she progressed extremely fast. It's been a year and she is totally reconditioned and doing better than she ever has. The best part is that she no longer feels like gymnastics controls her life. She budgets her time so she can also participate in other sports. No, she'll never make it as a college gymnast or even become a level 10, but she's still out there and loving it, along with having a life outside the gym.
 

Ani de Alba

New Member
Sep 5, 2008
21
GYMNOMORE. Thanks for taking the time to write you really can't imagine what a difference you've made. I must have pulled up your post out least 10 times today (just reinforcing myself) I have this horrible feeling inside like a little piece of my dd life ended and it's not that way at all I know something good is coming our way. Lately every time my cell would ring while my dd was at the gym and I'd see my coaches name on the screen and my heart would stop. What effects me most is she's a great competitor and her hard work pays off at competitions. Someone always has to come up to tell me she shines.
Now what? She's only 11 and I feel she can do track and field(she loves running) later on in life. What other sport could she try out besides diving.
Another reason I'm feeling this way is because so many people have influenced my decision (family members, friends, spouse) and basically I wasn't as convinced as they all were. I don't have friends in the sport so their advice comes from a different point of view. I've been looking for answers on the web for the last two weeks until I found this page and all these wonderful people that take time to write. I live in Mexico and even though people here are friendly parents in this sport aren't. Thanks again.
 

gymnomore

Member
Aug 3, 2007
208
Thanks for your nice reply. I hope my post helped you some. There are plenty of people on this site that can share their experience with gymmies that have quit, some have come back, and some have moved on. But they've all lived to tell about it, and my guess is that most, if not all of them are perfectly happy. After going through it, I feel like I can look back and see things so much clearer than I used to. You are right in that friends NOT involved in gymnastics just simply do not get it, so they are not going to be a source of comfort to you now. They raised their eyebrows when we first started our dds in the sport, and wondered why anyone in their right mind would allow their children to practice "that much", (even though it really isn't at first). When gymmies have injuries, especially over and over, they think we are contributing to some sort of child abuse. They can't understand why we don't insist that they quit after the first injury. What they really don't understand is how sucked into this sport we get. It's absolutely addicting! It's fun for the kids, and it's such a thrill for them to be trained in something where they are constantly progressing and learning gymnastics skills that any kid would want to be able to do. As parents, we are completely taken in the first time our little darlings stand up on top that podium with the biggest brightest smile we've ever seen. We want to do more for the gym, spend more time with the other parents, and travel with the team. Basically, the lifestyles of our families revolve around their gymnastics schedules. Let's face it- it's a blast! Our kids are healthy, in fantastic shape, talented, out of trouble, and happy. What more could a parent want? Then we get more involved, it takes more time, more money, there is sometimes conflict with coaches, rips, injuries, more injuries, muscle aches, body aches, and sometimes frustration in learning higher level skills for both the kids and the parents who listen to them and dry their tears. Some can handle it; most can't. I wish our time would have lasted longer, but it didn't, so we had to choose a few new paths. Well, this wonderful journey will pass, even for the best of them, and one day it's all over, and let me tell you, it's absolutely heartwrenching. I can't tell you how many tears I cried each time one of mine quit gymnastics. Everything comes to a dead stop, and neither one of you know what to do with your time. As I mentioned, we went down that road, and tried other sports, and all of my kids love what they do now. As I look back, I wonder how we got so wrapped up in a sport that is just that: a sport. If you've read any of my posts, you'll notice that I'm a huge advocate of kids being kids, and not being controlled by one activity. I suppose I'm lucky that my youngest is still involved in gymnastics so we still get our "fix", but she does it very part-time, with other activities going on too. Her favorite is pole vaulting. It's a fairly new sport for girls, and there are wonderful opportunities out there. I know your dd is only 11, but maybe you could ask around to see if any coaches would be willing to work with her so she can try it. My kids were sought out by a fantastic coach simply because they are ex-gymnasts. If she loves gymnastics but doesn't want to do it full time, maybe there are recreational classes near you she could do just to keep her skills up. Or cheerleading! (Bob doesn't like this route- but I think it's great!) Sometimes not doing a sport like gymnastics so many hours a week is a good thing. In my dd's case, her decision to leave gave her muscles time to heal and she actually got stronger, and luckily, better. Nothing hurts anymore!!! Let your dd do what she likes but limit the time so she isn't likely to suffer over-use injuries. No need for kids to run themselves ragged over a sport. Let's face it- very few gymnasts go on to become elite, or even make it on a college team. When they grow up, they are done! I admire those that stay with it long enough to go elite or compete in college, but it's not for everyone. None of mine ever had a chance to get a gymnastics scholarship, though that is very much a possibility in other sports. Because of the way they have learned to budget their time, I fully expect each of them to get an academic scholarship which will benefit them for the rest of their lives. And they love being normal kids with time to go to the mall and Friday night football games with their many friends. They are bright kids, and have all found something that they like, while staying in shape. Your daughter will do the same. I am sure of that. When you think about it, isn't that more important?
 
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gym law mom

Active Member
Proud Parent
Dec 23, 2006
2,527
Country
USA
I've read your posts and have to say you are making the right decision for your dd at this time in her life. At the age of 11, having suffered 4 fractures already is very troubling. Your comment about your heart stopping each time the gym called says you knew things were not going well for her at all and you had a fear for her safety.

What to do now? Ask your dd what things she may have thought about trying--art, music, other sports and go from there. Some may not be practical, but you may be able to expand on some idea she has. This is her time to try new activities and decide what she likes and what she would like to pursue. I don't know what facilities you have close by, but rhytmic gymnastics is an option.

Best wishes with whatever you and dd settle on.
 

gymjourneymom

Active Member
Proud Parent
Mar 9, 2008
1,331
Country
USA
Gymnomore....wonderful post! Thank you so much for sharing your honest & heartfelt insight. I totally agree with your line of thinking. I get afraid for our girls...so much of their identity is tied to gymnastics. That is why the decision to quit becomes so difficult. But they will find new parts of their identity to explore. Best wishes to you Ani De Alba & your DD. Although this is difficult now...it sounds like the you've made the right decision to keep your DD safe & healthy. Keep us posted on her new adventures.
 
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TuesdayPillow

Guest
Kids always find something to fill in free time. After having some time to heal up and do other things may even take her back to the sport doing better than ever - you know know!
 

Ani de Alba

New Member
Sep 5, 2008
21
Gymnomore..... Thanks again and again and to every post that was sent to me. 2 weeks looking for answers in the wrong place (I spent hours reading statistics on gymnast who enter the emergency room yearly in the U.S.) I wanted so badly to know why my dd was getting injured instead of realizing all the wonderful qualities gymnastics left her with, she will find a sport where she can give it her all again and not spend 25 hours a wk doing so. It's funny how you mentioned people make you feel like it's child abuse. I felt that so many times especially with mothers at the gym. I hope their never in a situation like mine. The majority of the girls that have pulled out have been because of lack of interest few because of multiple injuries. My dd told me "maybe this will be my last injury and I don't have to quit?" Well we aren't going to wait and see at least not for now. I will be one to tell what happens after this episode. I should have logged in as THE GYMNIE MOTHER WHO DROWNED IN A GLASS OF WATER. Gymnomore have you considered writing "inspirational columns"? You were wonderful! I hope we can stay in touch. Ani
 

gymmomntc2e6

Moderator/Proud Parent
Aug 25, 2007
2,842
North Carolina
Ani De Alba - I hope you will continue to visit Chalk Bucket, and best of luck to you and your DD.

I have been blessed w/ friends who have had kids in the recreational classes are your gym so they have seen my DD first hand (being carried out by the coach because she does not want to leave, coach turning the lights out in the 'big gym' so she will come out - last one out !!) so they do not question why she is there 7 hours a week.

I think that if you do not have a driven child ( I have one driven and one not so much) you cannot even understand that they actually NEED something (does not have to be gym). My DD is now doing soccer on her non-gym night. She seems to thrive on being busy. Even on the weekends she is practicing soccer for hours, riding her bike, swimming, roller blading - it just never ends.

Good Luck and God Bless.
 

gymnomore

Member
Aug 3, 2007
208
Gymnomore..... Thanks again and again and to every post that was sent to me. 2 weeks looking for answers in the wrong place (I spent hours reading statistics on gymnast who enter the emergency room yearly in the U.S.) I wanted so badly to know why my dd was getting injured instead of realizing all the wonderful qualities gymnastics left her with, she will find a sport where she can give it her all again and not spend 25 hours a wk doing so. It's funny how you mentioned people make you feel like it's child abuse. I felt that so many times especially with mothers at the gym. I hope their never in a situation like mine. The majority of the girls that have pulled out have been because of lack of interest few because of multiple injuries. My dd told me "maybe this will be my last injury and I don't have to quit?" Well we aren't going to wait and see at least not for now. I will be one to tell what happens after this episode. I should have logged in as THE GYMNIE MOTHER WHO DROWNED IN A GLASS OF WATER. Gymnomore have you considered writing "inspirational columns"? You were wonderful! I hope we can stay in touch. Ani

Sorry- I tend to ramble so here goes again. This is a wonderful site to come to when you are going through this. I found this site shortly after my youngest dd quit, which is why my screen name is gym-no-more. Everyone on here is so supportive! We understand how it feels! It took me a solid year to really get over dd quitting her team which is why I like to chime in when I hear stories like yours. Things always turn out for the best and I feel so blessed that we now have the best of both worlds-gym and not-gym. Next year, you'll be on here writing about how YOUR situation turned around- and it will! Gymnasts are always gymnasts, and what they learn from the sport will carry on in some form or another. Speaking of which...Thanks for the compliment on writing inspirational columns! I had always thought about writing a book. I wanted to call it "Raising Daughters", until I discovered my daughter's writing, so now I know I couldn't do it very well. My oldest dd, who quit gymnastics 5 years ago, is an exceptional writer- very descriptive! She is now applying to colleges, and believe it or not, her college essay is all about her decision to quit gymnastics and how it affected her life. This is probably one of the most charming pieces of work I've ever seen, and the timing is perfect since admission officers will be reading it after this year's Olympics. Not only that, but on the essay part of her SAT test, she also wrote about gymnastics, though I have not read that one. Just goes to show that even after that many years, she still feels gymnastics in her life.
My youngest dd just got a phone call yesterday from one of her friends who is ready to quit, and her parents wanted her to talk to my dd about it. She is a textbook example of a child who did it and bowed out gracefully to move on to something else that works for her.
Here's a piece of advice I've given to moms also going through this: Read the book "Little Girls in Pretty Boxes" by Joan Ryan. It's an expose on the private lives of elite gymnasts and figure skaters, and some of the tragic consequences they have suffered. It's an older book, and the sports have come a long way since it was published way back in 1995. It can be a bit over the top, but it's scary to read what has happened to some of these athletes that held the same philosophy of winning at any cost. It's an easy read, and a book you won't want to put down til you finish. I read it every time one of my kids quit and got something different out of it each time. Here's the reason- I read these tragic stories and have asked myself over and over these questions: "What would happen to MY child if she continued to train while hurt and did something tragic like miss a vault or fall off the bars and injure herself permanently?" How would we feel about gymnastics then? How guilty would I feel for encouraging her to stay with it? What would happen if my child had an eating disorder because of gymnastics and became uncontrollably anorexic?" or "What if my child became so wrapped up in gymnastics that she felt inadequate if she didn't make it, or wasn't successful". Though these things happening are highly unlikely, it will make you glad that your child has moved on! Worked for me! Of course, I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone just getting into gymnastics! But, the first time I read it was many years ago when my kids were preschoolers, and it gave me some perpective on what we were in for. In a way it helped even then because I didn't have any unrealistic expectations of where their gymnastics careers were headed. Thanks again for reading my posts and for your comments, and stay in the chalk bucket. Please keep us informed as to how your daughter is doing!
 
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Ani de Alba

New Member
Sep 5, 2008
21
Gymnomore........ I printed your post yesterday so I could carry it around until this syndrome wears off, it's crazy. I did watch this movie "little girls in........." and I was like a sponge, absorbing every bit of it. When her husband told her "You're not being her mother instead you're cheering her on" boy it was an eye-opener. Then the mother whose dd was badly hurt and she insisted her dd was just fine, this last time they called about my dd being hurt her coach said I'm sure her arm is fractured and I'm standing in front of her looking at this bone out of place and insisting it wasn't. My dd has this incredible tolerance for pain she was fine until we're driving to the hospital and I told her maybe her coach was right and it was fractured, she crumbled.
I'd love to read your daughters college essay. I went to school in the states and wrote many college essays and reading your post just brought back many great memories. My e-mail is : [email protected]
 

Ani de Alba

New Member
Sep 5, 2008
21
I will continue to post and let all my new friends how my dd is doing. Thanks again, I hope I can one day be of help to someone.
 

gymnomore

Member
Aug 3, 2007
208
Just one more thing...The movie Little Girls in Pretty Boxes was good, but it was too Hollywood-like. I think things were added in just to shake things up. The book is quite a bit more detailed and realistic, though I still haven't figured out where the author got her sources. I'd love to show you my daughter's essay, but at this point, I can't because she hasn't submitted it, and this is still her own original work. For her privacy and protection, I don't want to send it anywhere. But, as soon as she gets accepted into her dream school and it's all clear, I definitely want to share her work. It's really good.
 

Ani de Alba

New Member
Sep 5, 2008
21
Yesterday we received a call from our gym and basically they tell us to have our dd just work on conditioning, they really don't want her to quit cold.... My dd liked the idea because they told her she can go less hours a day and work on what she likes. I't sounds great!! but I find it too good to be true. I've been working so hard on understanding that gymnastics is over for us and now this, I'm not sure anymore if this is best for her? Do you think ending because of injuries is not the best way for closure?
 
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flippymonkeysmom

Guest
My dd has been doing just conditioning for a while now because of a broken wrist. It is definitely not fun and she is really frustrated she can't work on what she wants to work on. We do have a few girls at our gym though who have decided to no longer compete but still go to practice about twice a week to work out and work on things they want to . It seems a happy medium for them and their parents. Usually it is just a weaning period though - after a while of doing that most end up stopping altogether. Good luck in whatever you decide. This sport can be really confusing sometimes. Trying to figure out what is best is never as clear cut as we would like it to be.
 

gymnomore

Member
Aug 3, 2007
208
I can see how you are confused. If your daughter wants to try it, then I would say go for it! It sounds like she is a gymnast who isn't quite ready to quit. As long as she isn't asked to do anything uncomfortable, or anything that hurts, then she should be OK. But like flippymonkey's mom said, sometimes this can be boring when she's watching her friends doing other things and all she is doing is conditioning. That happened to my dd and she called me from the gym as I was driving away whining about how long she had to stay there doing nothing but conditioning. But then again, she wasn't as enthusiastic as your dd. My dd had already made up her mind she wanted to quit. You have absolutely nothing to lose by giving her the opportunity to continue at her own pace. Gymnastics doesn't have to be over just because you have decided that it was. If the coaches can make it work for your dd and she is open to trying it without any chance of re-injuring herself, then you might want to give it some thought.
 
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