By Marie Carter – Gymnastics Director/SWIMkids USA
Growing up, I was always a relatively active child. The two things I loved in life were my friends and anything that got me moving or out of the house!
It didn’t take long for my grandparents and mom to notice this. My grandma jumped at the opportunity to enroll me in swim lessons from a young age. Then volleyball and softball quickly came after. I remember how much I enjoyed the games or team parties because I was surrounded by all my teammates who were also among my best friends. Having an opportunity to see all of them weekly was reason enough for me to enjoy being involved in sports teams!
However there was one day I will never forget when my best friend (the “we can’t be separated” type of best friend) asked me to go with her to her new gymnastics class.
I’m sure my thoughts went as follows-
My best friend would be there 🙂
getting out of the house
meeting new friends!
The class was one of the hardest classes I had done but I LOVED it. All I remember from that first class was how in my head I was pretending I was an Olympic athlete. I was trying to emulate their finesse on the spring floor which was so much fun and from that moment on I consistently begged my mom and grandparents to invest in gymnastics.
After I had caught the gymnastics bug, this same friend asked me to try out for the cheer squad. Again my thoughts ran through my screening process; best friend, something new, getting out of the house and meeting new friends!
Before I knew it I was on a cheer squad going to games, practices and competitions! This is where I discovered I had the heart of a performer. I found my stride and loved every minute of it. Whether it was a half time performance or competing at nationals, the important thing to me was that I was making lasting friendships and gained a new confidence in myself.
I know that’s why I hold “Bring a friend to gym” week and the upcoming showcase so dear to my heart. As silly as it sounds – and permit me to be cheesy for just a bit – I might not be where I am today without my friend asking me to attend her gym class. I found a love of the sport, which then lead me to seek out a job teaching and oddly enough lead me to be newly engaged to an amazing guy that I met here at SWIMkids USA! 🙂
Sharing what you love with those around you makes for happier children and adults. I was fortunate enough to have a friend who did that with me. 🙂