Kate's 1st Meet

Sunday, September 8, 2013


Kate started gymnastics exactly one year ago.  She signed up for a recreational class once a week.  Her coach immediately commented to me that Kate was really good.  Within about 3 weeks, she moved Kate up a level.  Then she started mentioning the competition team to me.  At first, I ignored her because Kate did ballet and violin and I don't really believe in specializing in a sport so young.  Also, the gym seemed so crowded and disorganized to me at that time.  The coach would ask us to stay late to have Kate evaluated and then no one would be there to evaluate her.  So, we just kept doing recreational gymnastics once a week and I was glad we were not on the team.

Then over Christmas break or in January, I took Kate and Harry to an open gym one night.  Kate climbed the rope to the top and a coach noticed her.  The next week at her recreational class, Kate came running out and said, "Mama, I have an important decision to make."  They had asked her to be on the team.  I had serious reservations about letting her do it.  It is a big time commitment.  It is a big financial commitment.  I don't believe in kids becoming so specialized so early in life.  But because Kate loves gymnastics and I felt it would be good for her confidence, I let her do it.

Kate works out at the gym with her team 3 days a week for 3 hours and there is no off season.  They practice on holidays.  She goes straight from school on MWF and does not get home til 7 p.m.  These girls are like a second family to her.  And very soon the hours get longer for her.  She will practice from 4-8 pm three days a week.

So, she has been on the team since the very end of January or beginning of February.  Again, within weeks, they moved her from level 1 to level 2.  She has trained for 6 months for these meets.  And when I saw her compete and how happy she was, I knew we made the right decision to let her do this.

Kate's competition season is September and October.  So they train ALL YEAR for about 5 meets at her level.  Kate was very nervous about the first meet.  She had no idea what to expect and neither did we.  But she did great!




I was very nervous about getting the hair correct.  Kate's hair falls out at every single practice.  If it falls on her face during a meet, she could lose points  (or so I was told).  This hair was GLUED to her head.  It did not move:)


When we got to the meet, Kate was so excited to watch her Level 1 friends compete and meet up with her teammates too.



Once Kate saw her friends in Level 1 compete she was not nervous.
 It was good we got there a little early.


Kate and some of her teammates.

Kate started on the beam and she rocked it.  She scored a 9.4!  
Harry videoed it from the balcony.  It is a little hard to see her but it is what I have. Look in the back of the gym and you can see her little silhouette do her beam routine.

Beam 1st meet from Kim S on Vimeo.

Next, she moved onto the floor routine. Usually, Kate does very well on her floor routine.  She had a little too much excitement and overdid her handstand and a few turns.  She did good job and got a 8.1.

The next even was Kate's vault.  She has really struggled with vault.  See the vault is all about strength and speed.  As you will see, Kate is very graceful and she is super flexible.   She is slow and precise. But strength is something she is working on.  She is trying to build it.  Many girls are very strong on her team.  Last week, Kate still had not gotten her vault right in practice.  She came home from practice one day and she had finally did it!!!  She said, "Mama, I asked Mary to help me."  I was confused.  I know the coaches and none of them are named Mary.  I asked her if there was a new coach named Mary.  She said, " NO! MAMA!  "  I said, "then who helped you named Mary."  She said, You know, Jesus' Mary."  How sweet is that?  I bought her a miraculous medal a few weeks ago and she wears it constantly (except at the gym).

Anyway, Kate was terrified she would get a 0 on vault because in practice she often does.  We were thrilled when she did it (for the most part) and got an 8.3.  Her vault still has a long way to go but she did it!!!

For the final rotation Kate had bars.  I was not sure how she would do on bars.  I never watch her practice.  But she did great.  In fact, she got the highest score. Another 9.4!  She is really good at the bars and she has worked SO hard to get there.  I remember just a few months ago she could not even do the chin-up pullover to get on the bars!

Kate warming up on the bars.

Below is her little bar routine.  It is really short.

Bars 1st Meet from Kim S on Vimeo.

At the end, each girl got their medal and ribbons.  Kate got two blue ribbons (for 9's)  and two red ribbons (for 8's).  She was thrilled!!



These are behind glass but I love Kate and a few of her teammates waiting with their arms around each other.

Overall, It was such a great evening.  After years of watching the boys excel at their sports and activities, it was so nice to see Kate shine in her own way.


Coach Kim


Coach Jamie


Harry had oral surgery in the morning and we did not expect him to come cheer Kate on but he did.  He was able to offer her great advice from his Judo tournament experience.  When we got in the car after the meet, Kate said, "I am so glad you came, Harry!"  And he agreed.  Unfortunately, due to school and swim practice, Will could not go to the meet but he will come to another one this weekend.

I know this is a very long post with a ton of photos but it was a really special night. Kate has worked so hard and I am most proud of that...her effort and her determination.  We do it all over again this Saturday!!!  It will be a busy month for us!

There is no flash photography allowed at USAG meets so many of these are I-phone pictures.


  1. How fun! I can't get over that practice schedule though! When does she eat dinner and do homework? You amaze me with your ability to stay so organized!

    When I was at UGA, in the spring no one really cared much for our basketball team. But it was all the rage to go to the gymnastics meets (at the time Georgia was the National Champ). Not just girls- guys, families, everyone went. It was such a fun Friday evening in college. Those Gym DAWGS were like rock stars on campus.


    1. KK,

      Right now, I bring a healthy snack for her to eat on the way from school to the gym. Then dinner is on the table when she walks in from the gym. We all wait and eat together at 7 p.m. on MWF. She does homework on Tuesday and Thursday. Luckily, at her grade level, all the homework for the week is due on Friday. Although she does do ballet on Tuesday too. I know it sounds like too much and I don't like that part but she never complains about it. And she has tons of down time on the weekends. Also, that is why Kate did nothing much this summer. I think the down time was good for her.

      As the girls get older, they do their homework at the gym. I am not sure how that will all work. We take it one day at a time.


  2. What a great job she did!! That takes hard work and dedication from Kate and you too! Woohoo Kate!!

    p.s. great job on the hair!

  3. Look at her go!!!! I can understand you being cautious but clearly she has an affinity for this!!!! I am impressed!!!

  4. That's awesome! Way to go, Kate!

  5. Way to go Kate!! Welcome to the wonderful world of competition :). My daughter practices Mon, Tues, Thurs and Fri. She doesn't start her season until February. It gets crazy, but watching the joy in their faces when they compete is so worth it.

  6. Oh and love the competition leo!

  7. Fantastic! Competing is so great for building confidence!

  8. Go Kate! As long as she's enjoying, this is a great experience for her!
    For those of us who don't know much about gymnastics - what does the level mean?

  9. She LOOKS like a gymnast and apparently performs like one too! So impressive with little miss!

  10. You are a good mom to commit to that practice schedule! It's great Kate enjoys it.

  11. Way to go Kate! Our girls compete and it has been awesome for them. They also send 3 nights a week in the gym and we juggle to schedule because we live really remote and our gym is 30 minutes away. It has been a blessing though and I don't regret the time we spend dedicated to it.
    My girls loved Kate's Leo!

  12. She is absolutely precious. I know you are so proud of her and her dedication. Sports are so good for children especially helping with self esteem as well as well establishing friendships. I like Harry's t shirt. I live 2 hours away from UVA so I can appreciate the significance of his shirt.

  13. As a girl that did this for years these pictures bring back great memories! I spent hours at the gym every night until high school. LOVED IT. No one was pushing me, I just loved going. And then one day I didn't love it so much, told my parents, and that was that. Everyone understood and I feel I learned so much from all those years of working so hard. I also cheered in college which was TONS of fun and I never would have made the team w/out those years of gymnastics. She is too cute and if it gets to be too much, I'm sure you will all know.

  14. I love this! Can't wait to show Libbie this afternoon! I have something to bring you. i may be in town tomorrow. Not positive yet!

  15. Kim,
    You made the right call.. She looks so happy!~!!!!! We need to combine her grace and flexibility with Ruby's strength!!!!

    Can't wait to see how far Kate goes with this!


  16. Way to go Kate!!! Kim - she looks like she is right where she belongs - you must be a proud mama!!

    Blessings, Ashley

  17. Way to go Kate! She is obviously talented and she has beautiful form! And she really does seem to love it, too. Kerry goes once a week and LOVES it but when she turns six and is eligible to start competitions I'm expecting the longer training hours, too. Can't wait to watch more of Kate's gymnastics! I love the snazzy leotard, by the way.

    Gin =)

  18. Way to go Kate! You did so well. It looks like all those hours training have paid off! You have so many people who are proud of you!

  19. Great job, Kate! It's good to hear that this is working out. Our 5-year-old daughter was just asked to join her gym's J.O. team, and we hesitated due to the time commitment. (Practice until 8 p.m. and she has to be up for kindergarten by 6:00 a.m.) In the end, we decided to go for it. She does gymnastics non-stop anyway, loves it, and it really is her place to shine. We start next week! Keeping fingers crossed that all goes well!

  20. Wonderful job and great scores especially for a first meet. The girls that love it want to be at the gym all the time. Maisie is level 6 and spends 6 days, 22 hrs per week at the gym and if she could be there more, she would. I think for a seven yr old it's a lot but she wouldn't have it any other way. Keep up the great work Kate and love seeing the videos

  21. She is so adorable and so talented! I love that last picture of her and Harry! That's so sweet that he made it even after having surgery. I hope he's doing well. The shelves in my kitchen were from Target. I am not completely sure yet if I would recommend them though - they don't seem as secure as I would like them to be. Not sure if that is due to my imperfect hanging skills =) of if it's because they are inexpensive.

  22. I'm so impressed! Great job Kate!!! (Great job on the hair too, Mama!!) :)

  23. Hi Kim, I couldn't resist a comment. I love that Kate is a gym girl. My oldest Claire, coaching now and competing for over 10 years thinks that Kate has some serious talent. We all enjoyed your post and look forward to updates. Thank you for sharing.


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