Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Why do I coach?

So, we had the gymnastics banquet this evening.  First, let me say, I HATE DESPISE DEPLORE public speaking.  I always have.  So, as always, and in typical Jamie fashion, I joked.  I write far better than I speak.  I'm WAY too emotional to speak.  I coach because I love this sport.  They say "those who can't do, coach." In many cases, I call bullshit, however, for me and this sport, that is accurate.  I also coach because - regardless of what I said tonight - I love kids....usually. 

Given the opportunity and if I was capable of sounding like a normal person and not a big dumb oaf, here is what I might have said this evening...in no particular order...but straight from my heart...

Dakota - I only had the opportunity to actually coach you a few times.  In all honesty, at the beginning of the season, I was unsure if you and I would get along.  In the end, you were my right hand girl.  When I was too busy doing other things, you took control of the camera and took some KILLER pictures.  You made me laugh multiple times and I wish you the best in all that you do.  I must admit, I'm rather sad that I never got a picture of the day with you. Make sure you keep in touch - some day I will get that picture.

Alyssa - Oh my.  What can I say!?!  You've got amazing talent and you're hysterical.  I can't even begin to pick just one favorite moment with you!  The time you ran across the beam totally skipping your switch leap?  How about clipping your feet on the bar in your fly away and then asking if you could do it again?  Better yet, the fact that I couldn't watch your bar routine EVER?  You're amazing!  I'm so insanely proud of what you accomplished this year.  Best wishes and PLEASE keep in touch!

Pelt - That dang laughter.  How many times did you kill handstands against the wall because you started laughing which then made everyone else laugh?  Oh wait - how about the time you crotched the beam and then rolled around on the floor yelling "my ass cheeks hurt!!!"  Wow.  You made everything fun.  Thank you, best wishes and keep in touch!

Christie - Ah yes, another one of those girls that I wasn't sure I would be able to bond with.  Many times you gave me grief - BUT you worked for me.  Thank you.  I can't pick a favorite memory, but I will be eternally grateful for you introducing me to Marcel.  P.S. Mt. Dew is the best gift ever :)  Best wishes to you as well and you will keep in touch.

Chloe - It's funny, I was pretty sure for the first month or so of practice that you hated me.  It doesn't matter whether you did or didn't - because I determined somewhere along the lines that I adored you.  Your facial expressions always made me laugh and your determination is something I wish everyone had.  I wish the season had ended differently for you, but I'm glad I had the opportunity to coach you.  Best wishes and keep in touch - or I will randomly text bomb you.

Taylor - aka Bruiser :)  Wow, it's funny how small the world is.  I remember when you were little and bouncing into Great Lakes with your little pig tails.  You were one of my favorite kids then because you have this bubbly spirit about you.  I love that you are still that way.  I love that you work your tail off and that you encourage everyone.  I'm glad that I get to be a part of your life again.  Can't wait for next year!

Sam - Hmmm, what to say?!  You make me laugh.  The things that come out of your mouth never cease to amaze me.  I realize that I haven't coached you much - but I will tell you this...you are a great gymnast with even greater potential.  I hope at some point (soon) you will realize just how good you are.  I'm sure next year will be filled with more fabulous "Sam quotes."

Madison - aka Patrick. Pretty sure I'm just going to change your name in my phone to Patrick.  Another of my former Great Lakes kids.  Ah, it does my heart good.  Now, as long as we get that fly away for next year, life is good.  Otherwise, you may be tortured over and over and over....you get the idea.  You made me laugh so many times - thank you.  Next year is going to be stellar.

Melissa - You amazed me the first time I saw you.  I don't think I've ever seen anyone just do a front walkover on beam with no fear.  WOW.  You work so hard all the time - it's almost inhuman :)  I also love the fact that you always listened to what I had to say.  It sounds crazy, but it meant a lot.  Thank you!  I think next year will bring good things for you.

Katelyn - I think what Kristyn said was pretty accurate.  You went from 10 bazillion falls to none.  How?  Sheer grit and determination.  You are so graceful and beautiful - I love it.  The best part - you're not just graceful and beautiful on beam or at dance - it's just who you are.  You are a beautiful young lady and I feel so blessed to be a part of your life.  Next year will be even bigger and better. 

Jazmyne - You are so strong and relatively fearless....except of course when it comes to vault, but let's not talk about that!  It amazes me that we give you an idea to try something and you not only attempt it but manage to pull it off.  You're amazing!  I'm so glad that we have 3 more years to make you into the phenomenal gymnast that you are capable of being!  

Angelica - Good grief.  That dang hair!  We will find a way to keep it out of your face.  There will be NO hair flicking during competitions next year or you will be running suicides constantly :)  You have made great progress this year and have the potential to be fabulous.  I'm looking forward to taking part in creating this fabulousness!!

Kiara - Ya poor kid!  What kind of bum luck is it that you crash and burn early on and break a toe.  I know that next year will be better when you are able to fully train.  I was highly impressed with the skills you gained this year and can't wait to see what next year brings.

Gracie - Girl, you've come leaps and bounds from where you were when you and I first stepped into a gym together.  You've done an amazing job and even after crotching the beam - you've kept going.  Your determination is amazing and I'm very proud of you.  Keep working hard - we've got three more years to make you even more fabulous!

Dominique - It's never easy to get back on the beam after taking a hard fall.  I'm so happy that you continued to work!  You made many improvements this year and I see great things for you in the future.

Teryn - I don't even know what to say.  You made me laugh so many times!  I hope that next year we don't have any issues with snot flying in the middle of your back tucks but if we do, I'm sure it will be ok :)  In some ways, I watched you evolve on floor.  Your tumbling improved in a big way and your jumps got bigger and better.  Let's shoot for a 9 next year!

Nikki - Oh Nickles Chickles.  You and I - we have our issues.  You're like another daughter for me so I expect more.  That doesn't always work in your favor and we tend to butt heads.  The bottom line is you have potential for greatness if you work for it.  I believe in you.  Let's see what you've got!

Leona - aka Jania Junior.  I remember walking into tryouts that first day and just staring at you.  You and Jania are so much alike.  You look alike and your talent is very much alike.  You have great power - you just need to learn how to use it properly.  Together, we can make you fabulous - as long as you are willing to work.

Alexis - Your floor routine and beam routine always make me smile.  Why?  Because YOU always smile.  There is nothing better than watching a gymnast who enjoys what she is doing.  You make it fun.  You make being in the gym fun.  YOU are fun!  I can't wait to see what next year brings for you!!

Jessica - I love to see how much you have grown from when you were a little girl at Twistars with Meg.  You are an amazing gymnast and I hope to see more of your amazingness next year!

Jenny - Last but definitely not least.  Thank you.  Thank you for being a huge helper for me.  Thank you for helping me coach.  Thank you for being the motivator when I am a little too harsh. Thank you for motivating me to be a better coach and a better person. I wish this year had been different for you but am excited for next year.


It's not just about the girls, though.  It's about the coaches as well.

Jenny - Thanks for helping me understand high school gymnastics and what it's all about. This year has been a heck of an adventure! :)

Nicole - Thanks for making me feel old....just kidding...sort of.  It sucks that I'm so dang old that I remember when YOU were a little girl competing at Great Lakes.  I'm glad I've had the chance to work with you and am looking forward to next year.

Kristyn - Wow.  I don't know what to say.  You took a chance with me. You allowed some crazy old lady that you'd never met come in and work with your kids.  Thank you.  I learned A LOT from you.  Our conversations on the bus rides and during practice and all the other times - well, they've been fun.  The best part is, though, that I feel that I've made a new friend and that is the most important thing of all!  Thank you.

So, in conclusion - THAT is why I coach.  This is what I love and these are the people I love.  And now that I'm all sappy and crying - good night.


  1. Yayyyyy! :) I love coaching with you Jamie! You definitely made it fun this year! Glad you are sticking around!!

  2. Will not point out that you should have had this on 3 x 5 cards for the banquet and as you spoke about each girl if you got sappy...I know you would have....you could have handed the card to her and let her read it. Give them public speaking experience so you could pull yourself together and do the next one.
    Personally, I dislike public speaking...even though it was my job 5 days a week for 28.5 years and I still occasionally have to do it now.

  3. Jamie,

    YOU are fabulous, and I truly count you as a friend. Thank you for helping me to see through a different perspective, for talking me down when my emotions ran high, and for some of the most hilarious reactions to some of the most random moments of our season together. I feel so blessed to have met you, and I am so excited to continue our friendship and coaching together!