My Daughter Loves Gymnastics, But Are “We” Ready to Compete?

It seems like I was JUST “100% that cheer mom.” You know the one with the big bag, big bows, decorated cowbells, and signs yelling “that’s my cheer star.” Yes, we were hitting highways and catching flights to competitions. And then one day it happened … my kiddo said “Mom, it’s not fun for me anymore.” And just like that, we retired the tucks and pyramids for bars, beams, and vaults. BUT … is she ready to compete?

We did two years of competitive cheer and my little one loves the stage. She is literally that kid that has an alter ego when she hits the stage. My usually shy kid instantly transforms into a performer. But is she ready to compete as a gymnast? Am I ready for her to compete as a gymnast? How will I know when she’s ready? As a kid, I wanted to be athletic, but as my mom used to say, I was born with two left feet and ironing boards for arms. So, trying to make the right decision is definitely “pressure.”

If I’m being honest, I wish this wasn’t even a decision I had to make. Some days I wish youth sports / extracurriculars were the way they were in the 80s. The option to play for fun. Yes, we all want to win. But sometimes the pressure is just so much. So again, how will I know she’s not only physically ready but mentally? When will I know? Do I just say go when the coach says she’s ready? I can’t base it on her “readiness” because she is ready now. She’s determined. But she also gets really sad when she doesn’t win. So is she emotionally ready for gymnastics meets and travel? Will she be able to keep up with school, practice, and meets? So many questions push through my head.

Of course, on top of all of that … gymnastics is an INVESTMENT! And well, we all want a return on our investments. So, am I ready to make this investment, and is she ready to start earning that return? However, this past weekend she had her first “mock meet” at camp. The smile on her face as she saluted indicating the end of each event proved to me that even if she isn’t ready to compete, she is ready to put in the work to get there.

What advice can you share for an aspiring gymnast? And how did you know it was time to compete?

For now, I want her to enjoy it just a little longer without the pressure of competing. We have time …

D'Andra Bradford Odom grew up in Jonesboro, LA. She swore to her parents that she would never live in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, or Texas. However, after completing a cooperative education assignment with IBM in Rochester, MN, she bravely returned to Louisiana to plant her roots. D’Andra earned a Bachelors from Grambling State University in Grambling, LA and a Masters from the rival school Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge, LA. However, the rivalry only lasts for one Saturday in November, the Saturday after Thanksgiving. D’Andra has a strong passion for public policy, social justice, and cooking. Therefore, it is no surprised that this self-proclaimed foodie met her husband, Chef Brandon Odom while trying a new spot, and ultimately co-founded Odom’s Kitchen (eatwithodoms.com). Together D’Andra and Brandon have two amazing children, Josiah and Corrinne. Josiah is the gentle and compassionate little gentleman. While Corrinne marches to the beat of her own drum. One of the things she loves most about being in Louisiana is providing her children with access to three living great-grandparents. Additionally, D’Andra and Brandon enjoy entertaining friends and family through food and laughs. She considers it an added bonus to be able to share and interact with other moms in the area. As it turns out this North Louisiana native found her roots through love in South Louisiana. A badge she wears proudly.

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