This past Saturday night Maya competed in her tenth and final compulsory gymnastics competition of the season. The following day she slept an extra 4 hours … I guess the tension of the last few weeks, with back-to-back competitions, finally caught up to her.
Now she’s officially an “optionals” gymnast. When her coach promoted her, she blushed as she shifted from one foot to another. While the coach talked to her and her teammates about the new skills they need to learn, I could feel Blas’s emotions well up inside him. I think he used up his very last shred of restraint to not pick up Maya, toss her over his head, and hug her gleefully, as only a proud parent can.
To watch what these girls do in competition, how they steel their nerves, how they execute their work, how vested they are — is extraordinary. I remember my terror as a 5th grader, summoning up all my courage to simply ask a question in class. How do they do it?
I can testify that us, the parents, during competitions, are a quivering mess. Blas is a nuclear reactor. He looks on, nearly combusting, but ready to leap to her aid if necessary, while I watch, behind some sort of barrier, any barrier, with my heart in my hands. If only she could do this sport fully swaddled in bubble wrap. Ohhh, and when it’s over? The collective sigh of relief. Blas and I? Ready for a drink. We are gluttons for punishment.
To sum it up, watching her stirs up the same feelings you experience when watching a mother duck and her ducklings cross a busy street.
It’s during those times when I most wish Maya played the fiddle — the dangerously reliable, beautiful fiddle.