Our little team of “MissFits” has been busy this summer, especially since our competition in late June! I’m so proud of each and every one of my teammates both MissFits and on the larger team for our accomplishments in June at NASA Nationals. We represented our gym with pride, strength, determination, teamwork, and success. Right, wrong, or indifferent, I’m often the one that dips my toe into definitions of strength on and off the platform………probably more than my teammates wish I would at times, but this summer has presented us all with moments that have challenged our strength, and we would be remiss to not acknowledge that the training we go through in the gym really does prepare us for real life.
My teammates are remarkably strong women, this much I know I’ve discussed in the past, but they have been tested this summer both on and off the platform and their strength has held up and grown in all cases. I watched as many of them wrestled with anxiety over disappointments of meets past only to triumph on the platform in June. I watched as many of them wrestled with anxiety over training ups and downs only to triumph on the platform in June. I watched as many of them (myself included) wrestled with anxiety ON the platform only to triumph each in our own way. We have and will continue to post our results, our videos, our pictures of competitions past and future, but what you can’t see in those images are the many stages of strength we all go through internally. This is the part in our training and our outcomes that prepares us for what we face OFF the platform.
From one teammate getting married and moving away; to another continuing to juggle work, family life, AND continuing her education; to another commuting to and from another state, training in between kids’ activities, and keeping all of us organized; to another dealing with injuries during training and competition that would conquer most, but she continues to fight back….and win; to another working morning, noon, and night on her farm getting it ready for a brand new adventure in life and still trying to balance time for rest; to another starting a new job, selling her house, and her husband starting a new job all in the blink of an eye….this is just a snapshot of the everyday lives we live, as well as some of the special obstacles we have each been presented with this summer. Without the strength we benefit from physically in the gym and mentally from our friendships and sense of family, these obstacles could seem insurmountable.
My summer has also not been without its challenges and more importantly its opportunities to benefit from strength. Most recently, my very best friend, my “person” passed away……my Granny. I had the privilege of being with her in her last days and moments and it really is both a privilege and a challenge all wrapped up in several final moments. Over the years, I could rely on my physical strength the many times I helped transfer her to and from her wheelchair, in and out of the bathroom, in and out of the car on outings she so very much enjoyed; and in these final days and moments I could also rely on my physical strength the many times I helped the nurses move her in her bed, helped her get dressed, slide chairs and couches around to be closer to her, and kneeling by her side holding her hand as she said goodbye to this body. I could and still can rely on my emotional and spiritual strength as I process all she has given me in my 40 years and all I know I will still learn from her for many years to come. She was without question, the strongest person I have ever known and the “grit” that lives in me was planted and nurtured all these years by her example.
Strength is not a nice, neat package we open on Christmas morning only to uncover kettle bells, prowlers, and dumbbells. It is not just the numbers we post at competitions and in the record books. But rather, it is the gifts we unwrap every day in the way we face our challenges, juggle our lives and commitments, navigate some big life changes, and sit quietly saying goodbye to a big piece of who made us who we are today. Strength exists in hard work, strength exists in joy, strength exists in sorrow, and strength can be unwrapped every day.