“Ouch, Mom!” I exclaimed as my mother pulled the strands of hair she was holding even tighter.
She criss-crossed the strands to make two, neat French braids on the top of my head for my first gymnastics meet. The thought of this special event filled me with familiar nervousness and excitement. The butterflies were raging war inside my stomach and my knees felt as if they were about to crumble into a million pieces from the weight of my own body. Excitement kept the nervousness from taking over the rest of my body by the constant shots of adrenaline in me whenever I thought about the frightening task in front of me: doing my round off flip-flop in front of a hundred people.
Leaving these terrifying thoughts behind me, I stood up my complete four feet after my mom finished my hair, and ran up the stairs to put on my leo.
The leotard was black with red, velvet sleeves and a rhinestone pattern around the neckline. As I tugged and pulled on the long, clingy sleeves, I took in the faint scent of the large gym where it had been sitting for a couple of weeks. I noticed the way the soft underbelly of the velvet felt against my skin.
“Lauren! Let’s go!” My mom yelled from the bottom of the stairs, interrupting my thoughts.
“Okay, one sec,” I replied, coming back to earth.
I pulled on my warm-up pants and then shrugged into my Acrosports jacket. My feet flew down the stairs at rocket speed. Hitching my bag over my shoulder, I ran out the door in a frenzy for the car. Before opening the door, I paused to look around my rather shabby garage. The beams and spring boards pressed against the walls documented the amount of time I put into the sport. I opened the bronze car door and sat down on the leather seat.
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The air came out of my mouth raspy and uneven as I finished my warm-up. The webbing inside my pants was sticking to my sweaty legs, the velvet leotard felt as if it was permanently adhered to my skin and the once neat braids were coming loose, as I sat down in one of the neat rows to stretch.
Stretch went by quickly and without much excitement since we do it every day at gym. Now it was time to march in. March in was the time when they announced which squad the gymnast were going to be in at that meet and announced the many gyms attending that meet. Today the meet was at Woodlands Gymnastics. The gym was rather small. The vault runway and table were pushed up against the viewing area. Right next to the runway was a massive blue polyester spring floor and on the other side of that was a set of uneven bars. The balance beam, my favorite part, was on the far left of the floor. We marched in to an oldie song and then turned to an American flag over the beam and listened to the national anthem. Soon our squad leader was taking us over to the vault runway.
I finished vault with a respectable 9.3, as well as bars with a 9.0. Our large team of about 14 was now on their way to beam. Beam wasn’t that great. Let’s just...