Monday, July 7, 2008

No more gymnast.

Well congratulations to Tracy Counts and her "lovely" *cough* staff at Gymnastics Counts. They've run another talented gymnast off and convinced her to quit the sport.

For the past two years, my niece has been a very dedicated gymnast. She lovedSSPX0307 gymnastics! You couldn't keep that kid's feet on the ground for more than 5 minutes. She attended a recreational gymnastics class when she was 2 1/2 and loved it, but my sister-in-law didn't have the money to keep her in it. After years of begging, Ash finally convinced them to put her back in. This time Grandma was paying and she promised she could stay in as long as she continued to enjoy it (provided it didn't get too expensive, of course). At 9 years old she returned to the gym and started again with recreational classes. She caught on so quick they practically begged her to join the Level 3 team. She came away from her first competition with 3 first place event medals and a first in the All-Around. She was hooked!

Level 3 was a great year for her and she soon had a large collection of medals from various meets, most of them gold. She competed in the P.R.E.P. Optional program IMGP1294during the "off-season" and loved it even more. Compulsory competitions have everybody doing the exact same thing, while optionals allow the girls to showcase their best skills, with more difficult ones providing a higher point value.

She progressed so well during the Prep season that her coach had her skip Level 4 and go straight to Level 5. 5 was more of a challenge, but instead of getting discouraged and quitting (like some did) she became even more determined and worked very hard to master the new things she was being taught. 2 weeks before her first Level 5 meet, she was hospitalized and had to have an emergency appendectomy. This put her out of the gym for 6 weeks. She was crushed. As soon as the doctor said it was OK, she was back in the gym, working harder than ever to get her strength back up for the next meet.

She was disappointed in her scores at that meet, the lowest she'd ever had... but we FallClassic06 (1)Image by nismax95 via Flickrwere all very proud of the fact that she was able to compete at all. And her scores were still in the high 8s! Heck, she'd scored higher than kids who had been in the gym 5 days a week during the time she was in the hospital!

She finished Level 5 with a 6th place finish at the State Championship meet. Awesome job, even without the time off. But then the crap got started. She was being tossed around at the gym. One day she was told she'd compete Prep Op 2 during the spring/summer and the next it was Prep Op 3. Her best friend had gotten left behind with the Level 4 team and while she was Level 5 and it was hard on her. She missed having Emily there and Emily missed her. They were both looking forward to Optionals so they would be on the same team again and Emily was working her butt off to catch up so they would be able to compete together in compulsories again too.

Then another unexpected problem. She pulled a groin muscle during practice and was told again to stay out of the gym for 6 weeks. She missed almost the entire OptionalLevel 5Image by nismax95 via Flickr competition season due to pain off and on. It looked like her and Emily would be together again, as Ash had no intention of going anywhere but Level 5. She hadn't had the chance to master the skills needed to move to Level 7. Her gym's owner/coach doesn't have a Level 6 team.. she hates compulsories and wants to get everybody to Level 7 as soon as they can because 7-10 are Optional levels. Well guess what. They told her she HAD to be Level 7, they wouldn't let her stay in Level 5 and if she didn't want to be Level 7, she could find another gym. Ashleigh refused to move up, and the coaches refused to listen to reason... she wasn't ready, she knew it and they should have seen it... but for some unknown reason, they refused to let her stay and polish her skills.

This was retarded! They had a girl that was on Ashleigh's Level 5 team that had been a 5 for two years already! So what's the harm in letting Ash do it one more year. Heck, letting her brush up and perfect her performance would only make the gym look better because she'd be scoring high and winning meets! But they didn't care... they had to have it their way. This constant pushing was what made her try something she wasn't read for once already which resulted in the pulled muscle.

So Ashleigh quit. She went and looked at another gym, but all the girls there werIMGP2966e younger than her and she didn't think she'd make any friends. Plus she didn't want to compete against any of her old friends... but she was most worried about having her ex-coach judge her at meets. At least two of the staff at Gymnastics Counts are judges from time to time. How bad is it when a 10 year old thinks you're too corrupt to judge a meet fairly???

So now, Ashleigh wants to run track in school and is joining Emily's soccer team. Emily's mom is a coach and said Ashleigh has natural talent. Heck, the kid gets told that no matter what sport she tries! And the good thing... Em's mom can make sure they are on the same team. She watched them play against each other in a practice game and said they MUST be on the same team or else they'd kill each other!
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