This is a blog post about Grace. Not grace in a theological sense, but rather this is a blog about an incredible girl called Grace.
This blog post is also about
The Little Gym in Huntsville located in Jones Valley opened on November 5, 2007. Grace’s family became members on November 6, 2007. Her younger sister and mom started in a Parent/Child class. That sister is now in Aerials! And they have a 3 year-old brother who has literally grown up before our eyes at the gym. He is a funny bug. And the whole family is pretty awesome.
But back to Grace. When she was 5, she fell off a balance beam in another gymnastics facility. She broke her arm. It was a pretty severe break at the elbow and also injured her shoulder. This might have been enough to scare her from gymnastics for life. But a year and half later, she asked her mom if she could take gymnastics again. Luckily for us, her mom said yes, and brought her to a newly opened The Little Gym.
Grace started our program in Flips. She was flexible beyond belief, even in the beginning. She was also a little hesitant on the beam. Understandably so. But she never let her fear stop her from trying. Pretty impressive for a 7-year-old. Well, pretty impressive for any age actually.
Grace continued to progress her skills and confidence as our program grew. She was in our first Aerials class. Later she was in our first Jets class. And now she is about to turn 12 in a few weeks. She completed her last class with us a few days ago. And on the high beam, she showed me a back walk over, front walk over, and a back handspring that day. Yep. On the high beam. Skills many of us (myself included!) can't do on the floor.
I have to admit, I feel a little pride when I watch Grace. As the owner of the gym, I feel like I played a small part in her journey. And she has played a large part in the history of our location. Until now, there has never been a The Little Gym in Huntsville without Grace enrolled in one (some years two) classes. It honestly was a sad day for me on her last day. I sat down and talked to her about her thoughts and memories from the gym and her goals for the future. Here is a little of what I learned:
She loves the beam. In fact, she told me it was her favorite apparatus which she said was "strange since I was so scared of it". She described to me how her early teachers, especially Miss Felicia, helped make her feel safe which enabled her to keep trying. And you know what? Miss Felicia was only 15 years old when she started coaching Grace. That's a story for another blog. How poised and confident that young teenager was....
But again, back to Grace. When I asked her what she loved about The Little Gym, she talked about the friends that she made and her teachers. She also said her favorite memory was being on WAAY-TV 31 with us. She said it was "cool watching myself on tv".
Grace is going to switch her focus now to dance. She made company at the Valley Dance Theatre. Her goal is to get on point. I have no doubt she will accomplish that goal and many more. And I have no doubt she will have opportunities to watch herself on tv in the future too. I asked how she thought the gymnastics background would help her dance career, and she said she "is the most flexible in her dance class."
Grace has a lot of blessings: a family that supports and encourages her, a natural "grace" as defined as "elegance and beauty of movement or expression", and opportunity to do what she loves. But she also works hard on her skills and on conquering her fears. Something we can all learn from.
And finally, I asked Grace if she ever thought she would get back into gymnastics, and she answered, "well I'm going to work here in a few years, so I'll get back into it then."
Excellent answer. And I can't wait to see a 15-year-old Grace coaching the next generation of The Little Gymers. Instilling in them the same confidence Miss Felicia once gave her. It's the circle of life really...
-Angel Hundley, Gym Owner
-Angel Hundley Gym Owner
P.S. Minutes after posting this entry, I went on a walk with my dog. Usually I sing along to my ipod in my head. Today I decided to follow my own advice, and I sang out loud. It was glorious fun. And after getting my jam on to 1986 Madonna, I caught a firefly just because they were flying around. And I screamed a little, not gonna lie. And my heart was beating fast, and I was smiling. It was a moment of joy to be sure. Now get off your computer, and go catch your own firefly! (metaphorically speaking of course!)
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