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Saturday, May 4, 2013

Whenever You Remember

My babies are graduating, and I am distraught as I imagined I would be.  These young ladies have helped to shape and mold me into the coach that I am.  Though I have a lot of learning left to do, and I would never assume I know everything about the sport of gymnastics (realistically I've probably covered about 12%) - I can honestly say that I am who I am in part because of these five beautiful women.

My beautiful little sisters.  Annie, Morgan, Siri, Katie and Mary Kate


These ladies have un-equivocally reshaped our gymnastics program.  They have climbed the mountains and set the bar unimaginably high.  Between the 5 of them, there are more awards and recognition than perhaps the last three or four graduating classes combined.  It's amazing that four years ago, they came here as teenagers who were not quite sure what they were getting in to... Now, as women, they are leaving a legacy behind of what it means to be a Warhawk Gymnast.

These girls have changed me.  They have inspired me.  They have moved me.  I can't imagine where we would be without their leadership- and I truly know I would be lost without them.

I wouldn't say we have a normal coach/gymnast relationship... as these girls were once my teammates.  You see, I spent my senior year of gymnastics in a boot healing a broken foot.  When we realized I wouldn't be able to compete at all, a decision was made to red-shirt my senior year.  I was already returning to school to get my Master's degree, and it just made sense to remain a part of the gymnastics program I held so close to my heart.

It was one of the hardest decisions I had to make during my gymnastics career.  Because I had these girls to think about.

Angel, Ashley, Katie, Dani and I- January 2007


They were my soul mates, my confidants, and my sisters... and the thought of doing gymnastics without them by my side made me sick to my stomach.  I wasn't the most emotionally stable at the time, and I will be the first person to admit that.  They were a part of me... and they still are.  It's funny because when I look at the little girls who turned into women in front of my eyes, I'm reminded of the sisters who stood by me and carried me through the tough times.  I see my sisters in these seniors more now than ever.  They have grown in to these incredible women who respect each other, lead by example and truly love one another.

They are the epitome of what it means to be a team.

These ladies have laughed with me, cried with me, and held my head above water when I thought I would drown.  We have been teammates, friends, colleagues (they have all worked for me at some point) and sisters.  I consider each one of them a little sister, and I am so proud of the women they have become.  Our lives will never be the same without them next year, but I can assure you... their legacy will live on at Whitewater, for years and years to come.
"Remember how we reached that dream together."- My girls with their National Championship trophy.

They chose Carrie Underwood's "Whenever You Remember" as their senior song this year.  It's perfect.  It reminds me daily of my own sisters and what we were able to overcome together, and prides me to know that these girls feel the same about each other as we did then... and still do today.

My sisters and I during our Sophomore Year- 2007


PROUD.

The word just doesn't seem to do them justice... but I guess it will have to work.

I hope these ladies look back on their time here and remember every moment.  All of the victories, all of the struggles, all of the times they stepped up for someone else.  I can only pray that they carry this place and this family with them as they take their journey through life.  I know I will certainly hold a special place in my heart for each of them, my little ones.

The girls at their last Nationals Banquet.


Love True,

Allison

"Whenever You Remember" - Carrie Underwood


When you look back on times we had
I hope you smile
And know that through the good and through the bad
I was on your side when nobody could hold us down
We claimed the brightest star
And we, we came so far
And no they won't forget


Whenever you remember times gone by
Remember how we held our heads so high
When all this world was there for us
And we believed that we could touch the sky
Whenever you remember, I'll be there
Remember how we reached that dream together
Whenever you remember

When you think back on all we've done
I hope you're proud
When you look back and see how far we've come
It was our time to shine
And nobody could hold us down
They thought they'd see us fall
But we, we stood so tall
And no we won't forget

Whenever you remember times gone by
Remember how we held our heads so high
When all this world was there for us
And we believed that we could touch the sky
Whenever you remember, I'll be there
Remember how we reached that dream together
Whenever you remember

Yeah, Oh

We claimed the brightest star
And we, we came so far
You know that we, we showed them all
And no they won't forget

Yeah

Whenever you remember times gone by
Remember how we held our heads so high
When all this world was there for us
And we believed that we could touch the sky
Whenever you remember, I'll be there
Remember how we reached that dream together
Whenever you remember

Whenever you remember

Oh, whenever you remember


Thursday, May 2, 2013

We walk by faith

I have trouble sleeping.  Call me a thinker, a worry wart, the queen of stressing out- they are all warranted nick names.  I've tried taking nyquil, benadryl, hot showers, sleeping bundled up, sleeping naked, melatonin, sleepy time tea, eating before bed, not eating before bed, working out, meditation, falling asleep to the tv... you name it.  And some of those things worked... for a while.  However, with the risk of becoming a Benadryl junkie looming over my head, I have resorted to abandoning most of those strategies.

The winner lately has been reading.  Yep!  Reading.  It's so simple.  You read your kids a bedtime story to help them fall asleep, until they are old enough to read to themselves... and then they do.  I remember going to bed with piles of books in my lap as a kid.  As a teenager... HELL NO.  I was more of a, "school, gymnastics, piano lessons, voice lessons, youth group, volleyball and drama club take up enough of my attention, and I'm going to laugh if you try to tell me I have to focus on one more thing" kind of girl.

Anyway-

I've been reading a lot of Nicholas Sparks lately.  It's funny.  He was the first author I remember really liking as a teen.  When we got to choose a book to read for English class I picked, A Bend in the Road.    Though, I don't really remember the book in any detail, I do remember loving it- and the way the author shared his words.  Since then, I've read four of his books in the last two months, and I'm in Heaven! Call me a romantic, and there's not a chance in hell I'll deny it.  This brilliant writer has words that give this single lady hope about life and love.

Not that I'm a cynic, because I'm not.  And it's not that I don't have faith in love, because I do. In fact, I lived a long time with this cookie cutter idea of what "love" truly is.  Imagining love as this wholesome, inspiring and somewhat perfect state of being.  That's not real.  Love is hard.  And in that reality it's just nice to use your imagination (reading a story) to discover the human condition.  No one is perfect, and everyone makes mistakes, and sometimes I think that when I read stories about love and it's imperfection... I'm reminded of how perfect the imperfections can truly be.

There's a verse I love, "For we walk by faith, not by sight." 2 Corinthians 5-7

It's so important to remember this.  (And I do forget from time to time) He has a plan.  PERIOD.  And no matter how you may try to finagle a situation... it's going to come out the way He wants it to... and that's okay, because that's exactly how it should be.  It's not easy to trust faith with complete certainty... especially where your heart is concerned.  But I can only assume, that if the imperfections outweigh everything else, there is a greater lesson to be learned.

What I've learned is that no matter what is going on in your life, the sun will come up tomorrow (cue the Annie theme song), and whether it's a cloudy day or a rainy day, a day is still a day... and as long as we continue to wake up to new days, it is our obligation to make the most of them.  It may not be easy to see at times, but each day is a gift.  Each opportunity to live is a privilege.  The way you spend your days is up to you.  You might have a few bad days mixed in with some great ones... but if you learned something from the bad days then they were most definitely worth it.

Walk by faith... not by sight.  You don't need to see love right in front of you to know that it exists or receive love in order to give it.  And you don't need to see God to know He has a plan.  Love is there, He is there... and the faith will never let you down.

Love True,
Allison