Tuesday, July 31, 2012

olympic dreams.

okinawa, japan / me in the center, behind balance beam, age 13.



sometimes i feel like i've lived more than one life. there was that life where i lived on a base as a kid in the Philippines - visiting our families in the barrios and going to an American school. and then the other lives where i lived in South Carolina for 7 years - which is a heck of a long time for a military family - and life in Okinawa, Japan, far away from all of my best friends and all things familiar. and then there was my gymnastic life that spanned 10 years of my life.

gymnastic memories have been coming to mind so many times especially with all of the USA Men and Women's chatter throughout the media. i found myself drawn to this Olympic sport more than any other because i know first hand the difficulty of the sport and the literal blood, sweat and tears that go into it. not saying that the other sports do not exercise the same strenuous effort, but i can certainly identify with the world of gymnastics.

Magnificent Seven were my heroes, 1996 Atlanta Olympics via goggle images

and i'm talking about the long hours at the gym - even early ones on a Saturday morning when i would have much rather slept in. the sprained ankles and hyper-extended knees. the calloused, bleeding palms from the uneven bar routines. the number of ACE bandages, hair clips, and glittery leotards we recycled through. the coaches who screamed with words of encouragement and words of pressure. going to sleep in my splits and practicing routines and back handsprings on a mattress on my bedroom floor. the hugs, kisses, and cheers from supportive parents, and the emotions of defeat and celebration.

competing at age 9 (broken camera, wrong date).

then when i turned 14 years old, i found my passion for the sport starting to fade. we could blame it on puberty, change of interests, or just plain old fizzling. and so now while watching the Fab Five compete, i keep kicking my teenage self and saying, why did you quit?! 

so don't be shocked if you stop by the house these days, and see me polish up on a floor routine in our back yard or vault off of the living room couch or start walking across the kitchen floor on my hands 'cause this gymnast is gonna try to make a come-back. even if she only has a 27 year old body to work with.

much love.
{happy wednesday, friend.}

p.s. are you erin marie (#42) 'cause you just won the Agape Love Designs + Mommy Made giveaway! shoot me an email at muchloveilly at gmail dot com to claim your prize. congrats to Erin, and thank YOU, Maria for one fabulous giveaway!

27 comments:

  1. It's sad when dreams change... but it's so nice to have those memories. I never stuck with any hobby too long when I was younger, although I wish I'd stuck with riding horses, I had a lot of fun doing that.

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  2. You are so cute!! Wow cant believe you did gymnastics! How cute are you! I love watching that most on the Olympics too.. Wish I had be apart of something like that since a young age.

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  3. Awwwww that ending was so cute...it made me smile!! :) We all look back and probably want to change certain things we did or didn't do...but we are where we are for a reason..I truly believe that!

    Great post friend!

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  4. I can completely identify with your story. As a 32-yr-old mom, I find myself doing round-offs and handsprings for my daughters now...but MAN, not as springy as I used to be. That's for sure. Go get em'! :)

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  5. i identify so much with this. i've been a swimmer since i was six and am lucky enough to be swimming in college right now. i've thought about quitting many times, but was always too nervous that i'd regret it to actually stop!!

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  6. thats so neat! and i dind't know you lived in japan! i lived in tokyo for 10 years with my family :) loved it :)
    love,
    elisabeth

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  7. i love this post because for years i was in gymnastics, too! that's one of the things i still regret giving up, even though it seems like a lifetime ago!

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  8. I had no clue you were a legit gymnast! That is the most awesome thing ever!!!!! Oh man... I just want to be your best friend now.

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  9. i used to do gymnastics too!!! ohh how i miss it soo much!! i farthest i got was back hand springs and aerials on the floor!! i didn't like any of the other apparatus' too much!

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  10. Love this! I was also a competitive gymnast for ten years & can totally identify with this post! Flip away, girl... I may or may not have done a few flips myself after Team USA won gold tonight :)

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  11. Love this post Ilene! :) Polish up that floor routine girl, I know you've still got it!! xo

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  12. What a great post! Makes me think of my many lives....

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  13. oh my gosh i love people with hidden talents. let's see an outfit post with you doing a headstand. teehee! maybe in denims cuz of modesty. :-)

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  14. How awesome! Who knew you were a gymnast?! Love it!

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  15. shut UP girl I HAD NO IDEA!!! oh my gosh this was so fun to read. This is probably one of the coolest things ever! But hey, all our hobbies and interests change, don't beat yourself up b/c if you had kept going there would be no Much Love, illy and you probably would not have gone off to college to meet the Fubs! Love ya boo <3

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  16. So cute and fun!! I have never been flexible and can barely do a cart wheel so I will live vicariously though all you gymansts :) -- anddd I agree with some of the other statements.. hand stand outfit post ;)

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  17. I was the same way with sports. I was good but when I was about 14 i stopped. I wish my mom would have made me play more but oh we'll :)

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  18. I used to do gymnastics as well...until I was inspired to dance. I did one-handed cartwheels at age 6, and they wanted me to move to team, but it just wasn't right for me. And then I started dance. And I've been doing it for three years, and I *love* it. And now I'm on pointe, and I love it even more, despite the pain of the shoes. And I can actually make fun of the dance moves the olympic gymnasts do in between their flips, even though I know I could never do he hard parts of their routines. :D

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  19. i LOVE this post...can't believe that's us in the pics!!!

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  20. aww i love this post! i definitely miss gymnastics a lot and it was SO amazing watching the fab five take home the gold. i love it! it makes me so happy!

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  21. How awesome to know this about you! I took gymnastics too and LOVED it but I decided to stop around 12 yrs old. I still to this day whenever I watch the Olympics remember those days back at the gym when I used to pretend that one day I could make it :) xoxo

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  22. i had no idea you were a little gymnast!
    I was also, but not competitively and not for as many years... but I really wish I stuck with it too. I tried to do the splits the other day and let's just say the years haven't been too kind to me. haha.
    xox dana
    thewonderforest.com

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  23. Sounds like you stuck with it for so long and made some great memories! I wish I'd stuck at a few things when I was a kid too. I guess it's natural :)

    Life etc

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  24. I can totally relate! I didn't do gymnastics but did ballet for so many years. It has been a huge part of my life and I'm yearning for it again.

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  25. My sister and I were just talking about the 96 Olympics with the Magnificent Seven. I'll never forget watching Kerri Strug on the vault and how she stuck that landing with an injured ankle.

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  26. Been reading your sweet blog for a while now, love getting some fashion inspiration from you! Didn't realize you lived in Okinawa for a little while! My husband and I are about to move there for 3 years. Super excited, slightly nervous. Did you love it?

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