Archive for February, 2010

Olympic Inspiration

February 21, 2010

My daughter, age 17, is a retired power tumbler and former acrobat and gymnast. She performed at the National Championships three times and qualified four times. She has two bronze medals to her credit. A pars fracture during a level 9/10 practice ended her career.

As much as she misses the competition, the self-fulfillment and the smells, sounds and sites of the gym, I miss — for her sake — the other children around her during those exciting years of growing, winning, losing and learning. Some were real shmucks but most of the children made you happy to see your own child involved.

Watching Lindsay Vonn ski at the Olympic games in Vancouver, Alexis got the fever again. It had never really left her. She just hid her loss inside and burned for a miracle OK from her doctor to return. She’s lost touch with most of her old teammates and opponents and has not spoken with her coach since 2008. Still, it burns inside her.

We’ve tried to guide her down a new path of enrichment — guitar lessons [which she enjoys, and loves her instructor, Andra Faye]; hip-hop dance classes [a good rush but not the same gym feel]; part-time work; and, priority one — the academics of a busy and important junior year at high school]… Still, the burn lingers.

She verbalized it while watching Vonn, who fought through a naggingly bruised shin to win a Gold Medal at these 2010 Games. No denying it, Alexis wants back in. She wants to see Dr. Reno and talk with Coach Novak. She wants to train again.

I want her to be happy but also safe. I would love to have her around those great kids again, kids from all over the country, a diverse mix and melting pot of athletes with fit bodies, shining, smiling faces, and positive outlooks. Children who work hard and play hard and walk a straight line.

That’s been the biggest loss as far as a parent’s view of it.  Too many negative peers and — excuse the expression — losers in her life recently.  She needs to get back with the Luzin’s and Seitzinger’s and Rivers’  — the Lindsay Vonn’s in her immediate circle — and to learn more from Jaraslov and Jarka at Novaks Training Center.

It may not be possible for a lot of reasons, but for the past few days you can’t tell Alexis that.  She’s riding as high as Shaun White and just as confident.

All I can do is listen, offer a few words of insight, and be there for her, whether the dream is quashed before it even gets restarted, or for when she rises and when she falls along her journey back.

I joked with her tonight by text.  The toddler she was babysitting was asleep and she had the Games on, as did my wife and I at home. When she texted me some questions and comments about bobsledding, she LOL’d,  “You notice how I always like the most dangerous sports! ?”   To which I texted back, “Count my gray hairs!” 

A moment later came this from her:  “Well be prepared for more!  Lol!”

Gulp… Bring on the children!