I love the environment. The mats, the bars, the vault and the floor. The smell of the chalk. The music for the floor routines.

Over the weekend I attended my daughter’s gymnastic competition. There were six young athletes competing in her group. It’s a wonderful team and they all work so hard. The best part is that my daughter is truly happy.

She loves the 2 1/2 hour practices, her coaches, her teammates and the environment. She wants to be early for practice! In fact, she nudges me to be early to get her there. She has everything lined up and ready to go. Her persistence for this sport began at age two. She has been consistently in some type of gymnastics program for 10 years. Even though she wears glasses and has had three eye surgeries to help avoid blindness, she persists. Her eyes are ok now. Contacts are next.

I asked my daughter what the toughest part of gymnastics is for her. She said not being able to perfect a requirement in a routine. She finds it frustrating. Frustration is what drives her to succeed. This is how she learned to walk as a toddler, learn stairs, cook, bake, paint and learn a language. She does not give up.

Gymnastics is an interesting environment. It’s not for everyone. Gymnastics requires flawless timing and attention to details. Precision.

Not only do these athletes learn four routines – uneven bars, vault, floor and beam, but each of these events must be done with precision in order to gain the score they strive for. The pressure is high. It’s a numbers game. Practice does make perfect, as the saying goes.

Poise is also needed in this sport. You need strength and athletic talent, but poise like that of a ballerina, is also a sought after quality for each routine. Gymnasts must keep composure no matter what. A smile at the beginning and at the end of a routine is a must.

What I really experienced over the weekend was excitement, pure joy and comradery. I love that my daughter’s group is small. They are genuinely kind, supportive and they push each other to try harder and to succeed. There is no competition, only collaboration. Another mother and I were remarking over the bond and friendships these girls are forging already. It’s so refreshing. As my daughter said a few weeks ago, “Teamwork makes the dream work.”

There is so much I can learn from my daughter and her team:

  • Persist if you want something bad enough. Frustration can be an asset.
  • In our own lives we don’t need perfection, but excellence is important.
  • Poise is necessary; especially in the workplace. We need to maintain professionalism.
  • A smile and a positive attitude can change everything.
  • Collaboration makes life easier and more enjoyable. Let’s support each other.

I’m thrilled that the athletic environment my daughter has chosen at this point is a positive one. I hope it stays that way, because in real life, teamwork really does make the dream work. A dose of persistence, precision and poise can’t hurt either!