Olivia Lawrence - Grade 9, Kettering Fairmont High School
Strengths are Important
For most of my life my identity was defined by what I did. At an early age I learned about sacrifice. I gave up my time, my evenings, my weekends, and my summers to be a gymnast. Gymnastics became my life. I learned quickly that I had to work hard. Every single day I left directly after school and drove straight to practice 45 minutes away. I began homework in the car. Practice lasted four hours and then I headed back home again, finishing my homework and eating dinner in the car.
Practice was tough. Failing happens a lot in gymnastics. During these long, hard evenings I learned about perseverance and working through frustration. Dedication is a word that definitely described my childhood. I was dedicated to my coach, my sport, my team, and most importantly myself. Gymnasts must face many fears every day in the gym. By facing my fears I have become confident in myself and know that many things are possible if you choose not to give up.
As a young gymnast I always looked up to the older girls in the gym. Suddenly, I was now one of the older girls in the gym with younger girls looking up to me. We were the leaders, the role models, and set the example for all those below us. During this time I was able to use what I had learned throughout my gymnastic career to help the girls just beginning. During camp we were put into groups with younger girls. One girl that was in my group was scared to go for a certain skill. I could tell she was frustrated and overwhelmed. I decided that I needed to step up and help her out. I talked to her and helped her work through her fears. I told her about my experiences when I was her age and how I had been afraid too. I told her that I believed she could do it and that she would be okay.
When I think back to that day at camp, I am proud of myself. I am proud of how I reacted to the situation. I knew this girl was scared and I knew what it felt like to not let your coach and team down. I was able to use my own experiences to help someone overcome the same fears that I once had. When camp ended for the day and we were all getting ready to go home the best thing ever happened, this little girl came up to me and hugged me and said, â€œThank you Livvy, I could not have done that today without you.â€ My life as a gymnast had come full circle.