Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Getting To Know You – Childhood Dream

Thank you for your encouragement in continuing these sharing posts. Since my goal is to get to know you (my readers) better, I decided to start calling these posts “Getting To Know You”. I’ll share my side of the conversation, then I hope you will share back via comments or links to your posts.

This week I thought we could share childhood dream’s with one another.

Growing up I was fascinated with gymnastics. I LOVED it! Every time it was on T.V. I would beg to watch it and if I got to, I sat mesmerized. I wanted to do that. Specifically, I wanted to be an Olympic gymnast.

My hero’s were Nadia Comenci – the first gymnast to ever earn a perfect 10,
and Kim Zmeskal. She dominated in the late 80’s, early 90’s, including the Barcelona Olympics in 1992.
Oh how I wanted to be just like them. Both were coached by the infamous Bela Karolyi.

However, I grew up in a family of 9. My dad was self-employed and we didn’t have the funds for me to pursue that dream until I was 10.

If you know anything about gymnastics, this is REALLY late to start if you have goals like the Olympics. I started out with a simple tumbling class. In my small town, that was all that was offered. It wasn’t until I was 12 that an actual gymnastics facility opened, and I was able to sign up. I gave it all I had and loved every second of it. This is me at age 14.
Gymnastics 96
I still had dreams, but I knew the Olympics were not a reality. However, I still wanted to go as far as I could. I was training 4 hours every day after school and traveling on weekends for meets. My teammates and coaches were my family and friends.

Then came along the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. I followed everything I could that had to do with the trials and the actual games. I knew every single person on the Magnificent Seven (the women’s gymnastics team).
You can bet I even had that actual poster hanging on my wall in my bedroom.

Do you remember how exciting it was when they won the gold? Because I sure do.
I vividly remember Kerri Strug’s infamous vault that sealed the deal and Bela Karolyi carrying her. He was her coach too. He coached all the greats.
I never made it to the Olympics, but I did fulfill part of my dream. In the summer of 1997 I was able to go to Houston, Texas and workout at Bela Karolyi’s ranch. He had retired, so I didn’t get to actually train with him, but I did get to meet him and see him quite a bit.
Bela 97
It was awesome and an experience I will never forget!

As I got older, the training really got to me. I was in high school and felt like I was missing out on so much. I never saw my family or non-gymnastics friends. As cheesy as this sounds, I was interested in boys and wanted to date. My gymnastics lifestyle didn’t really allow for any of that. It’s a strict regiment.

If you are really serious about going far, you usually are homeschooled so you can train for 8 hours a day. I went to regular public school, but then trained until 9:00 at night. After dinner and homework it was bedtime, then a repeat day after day. As I said before, meets were on the weekends, so I was NEVER home.

I ended up quitting when I was a junior in high school. There are days when I regret this decision. It could have been so fun to go on and do collegiate gymnastics. However, I know that everything I’ve ever done has led me to where I am today and I wouldn’t trade my life right now for ANYTHING!

So what was your childhood dream and did you pursue it? I would love to hear all about it!

11 comments:

  1. Funnily enough, my parents entered me in a gymnastics class (I guess I was about 12 or so) against my wants. I was a very artistic child and not too...uh...coordinated. I begged them to let me stop, but they said something about commitments, etc. SO I threw my first meet and got last place in each category! They let me quit after that, LOL.

    That photo of you is amazing, though! I am so happy you got to go as far as you did, and you regretting quitting reminds me of how I wish I had continued violin past college. I dearly want to take lessons so I can re-learn.

    My dream, ever since I was a little girl on a farm in Illinois, was to move to New York City, which I did when I was 20. I lived there until I was 32, and I'll never regret it, even though I ended up divorcing the man I went there with. Now I live very happily in Minnesota, which I don't regret for a minute, either.

    Kimberlee of Magpie Shinies

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  2. I too loves watching gymnastics growing up. (That and everything connected with the Olympics.) The Magnificent 7 poster brought back so many memories! However, I knew better than trying to become a gymnast. I knew I didn't have the skills. (All I could do was summersault.) How fun that you were able to pursue your dreams!! And I agree with you, that all that was involved in your childhood is so much a part of who we are today.
    Thanks for sharing with us!

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  3. I love this post!! :) I was (maybe still slightly am) OBSESSED with gymnastics. I loved Kim Zmeskal as well, but REALLY became completely obsessed with the Mag 7! I memorized D. Moceanu's routines and danced around the living room to her floor music. (I could barely do a cartwheel.) My parents have some VERY embarrassing videos from that time in my life. ;) I was completely convinced that I was going to the Olympics in 2000, and even told a complete stranger that I was. When he asked me how long I'd been taking gymnastics, I told him I hadn't started yet. He probably got a good laugh out of that later. ;) I begged my parents to let me take gymnastics, and when I FINALLY got to the point where they would let me, I broke my arm (for the second time). So, that dream went out the window. *sigh* I was going to win the All-Around... oh well. ;)

    I'm glad that you were able to live out your dream a little bit. I'm slightly jealous! Thanks for sharing!! :)

    -Jennifer :)

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  5. My dream is a little simpler, but it's a good one - it doesn't have anything to do with gymnastics, sorry! :).
    Anyway, when I was about 7, I had this actual dream - that I can still remember. I dreamed that I was a bunny and that I was married to this other bunny (who happened to be another boy in my class), and we had tons of bunny kids and lived happily ever after. I remember waking up horrified that it might actually come true! Not the bunny part, the boy part - gross!
    Well, over the years, I gradually changed my mind. By middle school, I had developed this huge crush on that boy, and it never went away. I dated other guys, and he was VERY popular with the other ladies, but he was always there in the back of my mind. I used to wish on every shooting star that he could be mine someday. To me, that would have been like a fairy tale dream come true.
    Five years ago, my dream did come true! I still can't believe it. 15 years ago I definitely would not have believed it. Now, whenever I see a shooting star, I have a new wish - for a miracle baby!

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  6. That is so cool that you got to go to Karolyi's ranch. Growing up, I spent part of every summer at a camp in the Sam Houston National Forest. Every summer we would drive past this intense looking gymnastic camp :) For me, it was a part of the summer landscape.

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  7. I LOVED gymnastics too! I wanted to be a gymnast for a short while there... But I wanted to be a little of everything. A teacher at one point... Play in the WNBA! My gymnastics went so far as doing flips on my swing set bars! haha! For a LONG time I wanted to be a rodeo queen! :) My dreams changed all the time.... Still do. ;)

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  8. My childhood dream was to be a ballerina, but I was the oldest child in a family with six kids, so of course by the time my parents could have started me in ballet, it was waaaay too late to start ballet. I have every intention of offering it and whatever else to my two daughters if they so desire... but I won't push my dream on them, either. My three year old thinks ballet is pretty and she loves to be fancy... but she'd rather swim or do soccer! Ah well, c'est la vie. Her dream, not mine! ;)

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  9. Thanks for sharing! It is really fun to hear about these things that we don't normally talk about. I knew you did gymnastics but had no clue you wanted to go to the olympics or that you did it as long as you did. I also loved gymnastics and took classes when I was young. I LOVE the bars! Another of my childhood dreams that I still hold onto is to be a cowgirl! I would love to live on a ranch and be with horses, nature and my hot cowboy hubby all day :) heres to dreams!

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  10. From these posts I am amazed at how much we have in common. I LOVED gymnastics as a child as well but we could not afford for me to be in it either. I actually was never able to even try it out. So I stuck with watching it on TV. I didn't know as much about it as you seem to but I still wished that I would have been able to try it out. Oh well! On a side note, my 2 year old daughter was looking over my shoulder when I was reading this post and started posing her arms like each picture...I see gymnastics in her future. :)

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  11. I came to your blog from another blog you were a guest blogger.
    My dream was not gymnastics but would like to share with you that we moved to Houston in 1981 and the closest gym to us wss Karolyi's gym. Our daughter loved flipping around and we enrolled her. Well she seemed to have some talent for it and spent the next 12 years training there. Bela and Marta Karolyi are wonderful people in spite of any negative publicity you may have read. They work the girls hard but they make champions and hard work is what it takes. My daughter happened to help out at the camps as well in the summer on occassion only when she was not training. She did go to public school with most of the others and worked out mornings before school and many hours after. Probably about 35 hours a week and was still in the top 1% in her class of almost 1,000 students. She got to experience meeting so many people. She was in the background of a commercial Mary Lou filmed. She got to help Nadia with a contest sponsored by Danskins, met teams and was able to work out with teams from all over the world. She was able to participate in the olympic flame coming through Houston. There were many, many opportunities she would not have had if not for gymnastics and being at Karolyi's. Only those few make it to the olympics but she certainly had her share of recruits for colleges. Sadly her Sr. year she decided the college she wanted to attend did not have a team but wound up going on academic scholarships and she taught gymnastics in the town she lived in. Her back began to bother her and she felt she had done all she needed to do. It was a great time for all of us. Yes, it was expensive and we have five children but the others decided early on that was not the sport for them.

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Where I am no longer blogging, this blog is for reading purposes only. I am afraid I just can't keep up with it anymore, therefore, I may not be able to reply to all comments. Thank you.

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