Lucy’s Memoir: Born To Flip

I wake up at 6 a.m to a loud alarm clock beeping right in my ear! BEEP, BEEP, BEEP. I’m not a morning person at all, especially at this time. Fifteen minutes have passed and I finally force myself to get out of bed. I tiptoe down stairs, making my way into the dark kitchen. The sun is just starting to rise and my eyes are still half closed. My mom is sitting down having her coffee and says to me,
“Good morning Lucy”!
I mumble back to her with barely no voice, “Good morning mom”.
She replies, “Are you ready for the big day”?!
“I am very excited for it, but at the same time i’m nervous”, I say back to her.
Breakfast is already made for me and is set at the kitchen table. It smells like a freshly plain bagel had just been toasted, along with some bacon. I am not hungry at all, because I have so many butterflies in my stomach. I know it’s important for me to eat, but i’m so nervous that the thought of eating doesn’t appeal to me. After I summon the courage to take the first bite, I eat half of my breakfast, which I know is better than nothing! I go back upstairs to get my things ready for the big day! I open my bureau drawers and search for my leotards, warm up suit and my good luck fuzzy socks! Finally, I have my sparkly blue, half sleeve competition leotard along with my team warm up suit and i’m ready to get dressed for my meet. After I put on my leotard, the next step is doing my hair. This is my least favorite part because my mom pulls my hair into a bun that is tighter than a sailors knot. My mom pulls my hair into a pony tail and then wraps it into a bun that sits on top of my head. She pushes, what feels like, hundreds of bobby pins into the bun to secure it. I’m not going to lie, she definitely jabs me once or twice, but I try not to scream in pain! Next comes the hairspray which is the finishing touch on securing the bun and it fills up the bathroom like fog on Nantucket!
With my gymnastics bag full of waters, snacks, my grips for the bars, and extra bobby pins, my mom and I leave for the meet in Hartford, CT. My dad, sister and her friend, Hannah will come later when the competition starts. We get to the XL Center and when we walk in there are hundreds of girls like me waiting to check in! Now I am really getting nervous! I find my teammates and my coaches, say goodbye to my mom and join my team for warm ups. My warm ups go well, despite the fact that I fall of the beam. After falling of the beam, I am now very nervous to compete on the beam. I try to pump myself up and have a positive attitude and say to myself,
“You got this”!
My coach calls me over and she noticed that I wasn’t happy about my fall on beam during my warm up and she says to me,
“Lucy, I know you will do great on the beam and try to get that fall that you had earlier out of your head and you will do perfectly fine”. I respond back to her with positive attitude and a smile on my face,
“Thanks coach Britta”.
About thirty minutes have passed and my whole team has finished warming up and everyone is ready to kill it!! Before the meet starts, all of the other teams are lined up on the floor holding up a sign with their name of the gym like in the Olympics with the country’s name on it. Since I am the shortest on my team, I lead the team onto the floor with a sign saying, Vasis International Gymnastics. After the national anthem is over, my team gathers up in a circle and we all get excited to compete!
Our first apparatus is the bars. Bars is my second or third favorite. I have a good feeling about this, because while I was going over my routine during warm ups, everything was on point, including the stick of a landing at the end. I am the fourth one to go and while I am cheering on my other teammates, I am putting chalk on my grips. It is now my time to shine! As I wait for the judge to give her score the my teammate, I am getting more and more nervous. I say in my head, you will do fine. The judge raises one hand, and that means that it is my time to go!! I raise both of my hands above my head, with both of my middle fingers pointing in, and while doing this I have a big smile on my face. After my hands are down, I step to the spring board and off I go! While I am flipping and turning, I hear my whole team cheering me on! I am thinking in my head, everything has been clean so far, now you just have to stick the landing and you will get a perfect score, I do one last swing on the high bar, then I backflip off and I stick the landing! I salute the judge one last time and go over and high five my coaches! I felt really good about my bars routine!
Now we’re off to the vault. I am very strong at vault and like it more than bars and beam. For this event, I am the first one up and I feel confident going up first! I salute to the judges and off I go! I run as fast as I can, jump on the springboard and do a front handspring with a lot of air over the vault and stick the landing again!! My whole team cheers for me and I know that I have done a good job with this vault. My coach says to me,
“Lucy, you really should not have been worried about today because so far you have killed it and keep up the good effort”! After all of my teammates have gone, we all have a little snack and water break.
My coach announces to us that our next rotation we are going to beam. I am not looking forward to beam at all. I just have to keep thinking positive and I know I will do fine. As I’m getting ready to go on the beam, I just keep taking deep breaths, “in through the nose out through the mouth”, my coach says to me. I compete on the beam with a clean routine!
Our last event is Floor Exercises and my entire team is good at this event. Floor is my favorite and I love this event for many reasons, but mostly because it feels like you’re just flying high in the sky. Usually when I’m not at a competition, I am doing turns and doing flips on my mat and my family and coach like to call me a monkey! My floor music is part of the reason that floor is so much fun and it gets everybody out of their seats and all excited, so that’s what I love about floor! Two minutes have passed and my last tumbling pass comes. As I do multiple back handsprings and ending it with a backflip, I stick the landing and feel great! The floor music stops and all I hear in the whole XL Center is cheering and my teammates and coaches from the other side of the floor, “Way to go Lucy, I knew you could do it”, says my coach.
I have finally completed in every event, the floor, beam, bars and vault and everything was clean and spot on. I take a second and realize how nervous I was for today, but after competing it was by far one of my favorite days of my life!! I knew I could do it and at the end of this long day, we have the award ceremony! All the teams gather in one big group and await the individual and team results! The first event that the announcer will be calling is bars. He announces the 6th place winner, then the 5th, 4th, 3rd, 2nd, and my name has still not been called. I’m getting very nervous that I didn’t place in this event. The announcer says, “And in first place, from Vasis International Gymnastics, Lucy Witherbee”! When I hear my name be called for first place, I am happier than ever and my parents were so happy for me! I stand up on the first place podium and bend over a little, so that a lady can put a medal over my neck! After she does that, we all bow and have a smile on my face! As I’m walking back to sit down, the guy has already been calling girls names for the event, beam. I sit down and he’s already at second place and I have been listening very closely for my name to be called and haven’t heard my name. He gets to first and I listen very closely, he says, “First place from Vasis International Gymnastics, Lucy Witherbee”. I get up once again, get on the 1st place podium and get another first place medal! I say to myself, “Is this a dream”?! “What is happening right now”? I look at my parents who are standing near my team, taking pictures of me and they are going crazy and are so proud! Next event, is the floor. I am feeling very confident about placing in this event! Once again, the announcer calls girls up that placed from all different gyms to get their medals. He’s getting to second and first place and I still haven’t been called and i’m getting very nervous… He gets to first place and says, “In first place, Lucy Witherbee, from Vasis International Gymnastics”! At this point I am so confused but very happy! Last apparatus he calls is the vault. I have no clue if I did good or bad on this event, but it all depends how the other girls did. The announcer calls the first place winner, and once again, it was ME!!! I am so happy and my parents, coaches and teammates are all going crazy. My parents come running to me and give me the biggest hug ever! They say to me, “We are SO proud of you”!! Then my sister with her friend, Hannah come to me and congratulate me as well!
As we walk back to the car, I looked back at the XL Center and felt relieved and proud of what I had accomplished. I never thought, while I was eating breakfast, that the butterflies in my stomach would disappear and I could get through the entire meet. I was very happy that I did so well but more happy that I faced my fears head on!

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