This story was passed to me from a coaching friend. My first thought was “awww, how cute.” Then I thought more about the legacy we leave and the legacy that our team kids develop through the years they are in the gym. Children never cease to amaze me. That’s why I love what I do.
The story is from this coaching friend of mine, Jeri when she had her baby. Jeri coached the upper level kids at her gym and like myself saw the younger kids in the gym but rarely had a chance to work with them. There was a young Level 4 gymnast named “Delani”, and when Jeri had a daughter, she coincidently named it “Delaney”. The Level 4 Delani, convinced that she had some influence on the naming of the new “coach-ette” wrote a letter to the new baby. The letter, suitably decorated with drawings, read:
Dear Delaney. Here are a few things I have learned.
- Delani is a great name (I’m sure Delaney will be fine too.)
- You might feel like you are pretty good at gymnastics, but you should still work hard to get better.
- You might feel that you are not as flexible as you want to be, just keep working at it.
- Never give up.
- Just be yourself. It’s OK not to look the same as everyone else.
- Always be thankful for what you have even if you want so much more.
- Your mom is never going to stop being your best friend. Even if you get into a fight, your mom will never stop loving you.
- Even if you don’t get first place, or win gold, it doesn’t mean that you aren’t a winner or that you did bad. If you did your personal best you will always get “GOLD”.
- Just always smile. Life isn’t as much fun if you always are sad.
From your friend Delani (who you were named after).
Delani, the gymnast was 7 years old then and even at a young age was clearly a true traveller of the world, or so you would think. She stayed on Jeri’s team for many years following Delaney, the baby’s arrival. She has developed to a level that Jeri coaches directly now and her special relationship with Delani has grown through the years. Delani feels a part of the family and even now as she is in her teens, she knows she has to set a good example for the younger kids in the gym, especially the ones named after her.
This is a great story, from a friend who is far away. But the story is not that uncommon. Our kids in the gym work with us for so long that they become like our family. I have gone to many school plays, concerts and events to support “my” kids. I have “interviewed many a prospective boyfriend for approval and even acted as house sitter, dog sitter and even baby sitter for them (the girls not the prospective boyfriends). As my own children grow I see my team kids in the gym, caring for them. Guiding them, playing with them and loving them. How fortunate for my children that they are surrounded by so many big sisters. How fortunate for us that we have so many great kids.