When the kid was still a baby I made a mistake. I signed her up for gymnastics at eight months. I did it because I have always loved gymnastics and I had regrets that I never really tried doing them.
I never really tried to do any sports, and so the kid had tried many, many sports in hopes that she would find one that she loves. And she has. She loves gymnastics.
And that is my fault. I put her in gymnastics before she could walk and she’s never stopped. The problem is that she’s only six years old and she’s already over four feet tall.
The tallest gymnast to ever compete at the Olympics? Svetlana Khorkina was 5’6″. My daughter is unlikely to make it to her 16 birthday before exceeding that.
But she loves it. She dreams of going to the Olympics in gymnastics.
Actually, quite often she just dreams of going to the Olympics. And I believe that there is a sport out there for her to excel in. She is so strong, and seems to always be getting stronger. She loves to move, she always has, she loves to run.
I just don’t think it’s gymnastics.
She’s mentioned that she loves soccer, I know she loves to swim. Those are sports she can do for the rest of her life. She could get a summer job as a lifeguard, she could coach her own kid if/when she has them. Because as fit and strong as she is now, I want her to stay this way for the rest of her life. I want her to love being active. I want her fitness to never hold her back. I want her to have fitness as a tool to help her get through tough moments.
It is something that I wish I had. That I wish I could go back to.
When I was in high school I started walking regularly, listening to my music, clearing my mind after school. It took me half an hour to get home and I always felt better when I got there. But I wasn’t an athlete as a child, and fitness slips in and out of my life. I want better for her.
And I want her to have the confidence to push through the awkward years.
I want her to not stop swimming because she doesn’t like her body in a bathing suit. I want her to not stop running because she’s suddenly grown breasts and her body doesn’t feel as comfortable as it once did for her. I want her to have a team of strong girls around her who will support her while they all go through puberty together. I want her to go through her life being as brave as I know she can be. Whether that bravery comes in the gym, the pool, on a bike, on the field, or flying off a dying board.