This weekend I watched a group of kids that I helped coach nail a routine we had been working on for two months but then had to rewrite and relearn ten minutes before performance time. They stressed with us, had a brief moment of doubt, but then went on to the mat and took third place with a routine that was nothing less than stellar. I was so happy for them overcoming what must have seemed like a major hurdle for a group of 8-10 year olds that I cried. And so did my head coach, and their parents. That pride was unlike anything else I had ever felt before. I felt so happy my heart melted and I couldn't hold back my emotions. It was too great. And I realized, that that feeling, that insane pride and emotion watching my athletes succeed, was why everything that might not have been so great about the whole experience was SO worth it.
But then, there was a secondary emotion that came through on the way home. A feeling of intense gratitude for every coach, director, or teacher who has enabled me to be successful in some way, both as a student, and as the adult I am today.
So, to all of you, I want to say thank you. Thank you for putting up with me. Thank you for teaching me the value of hard work and dedication to a larger goal. Thank you for understanding my perfectionism, and my adolescent mood swings, and my inability to just roll with the punches. Thank you for staying late to calm my fears and teach me choreography, over, and over, and over again. Thank you for forcing me to throw my back handspring, over, and over, and over, again, even when I was crying because it just wasn't going to happen, and then celebrating with me when it finally did. Thank you for teaching me to do my eyebrows, how to stretch my back for a scorpion, how to not look like I'm mid-stroke when I wink, how to open my mouth right when I sing, how to breathe mid-note, and how to sing, act, dance, cheer, and run through the myriad of illnesses that I somehow contracted, whether real or imagined.
I am sorry that I never appreciated how hard you were working for me specifically, until it was too late. I'm sorry that I threw temper tantrums frequently, was never satisfied with anything less than perfection, and stormed off when I didn't get something right. I'm sorry that I fought learning how to properly do an octave jump, and hated the thought of a back walkover out of a queen's chair so much that I whined to the director until it got changed. I'm sorry that I was a diva, a brat, and sometimes just plain rude.
But what I hope all of you leaders in my life know is that in my life there are so many times when I have thought of you. There are so many times when I have looked back on advice you have all given me and used it to succeed as an adult. When I have felt like quitting, I've remembered someone telling me to "prove them wrong", another person telling me to just try again, countless people telling me that nothing is perfect the first time. And some of you are still coaching me, teaching me, and having your lessons finally hit home after all these years.
So to the countless people in my life who have held one of these roles in my life, thank you so much for everything you have ever done for me and continue to do for me in my life. Out of all the people in the universe, I was lucky to be blessed with your presence and instruction.