A Not So Usual Journey to a Dream
My name is Maegan and with me, I carry a unique story that might leave you inspired, or left thinking, is this girl insane? Either way I can promise you, this won’t be the last that you will hear of me.
I am a gymnast. But I have taken the path that is less (or never) traveled. You see, I didn’t start my gymnastics training when I was young like most gymnasts do, I started in October 2011 at age 24. I grew up a competitive dancer and cheerleader. I began competing in dance at age 2 and went on to win many regional and national titles in acrobat, jazz and ballet. I was also a successful competitive cheerleader winning national titles both individually and with my teams. I competed on an All Star team and I also cheered in college. But during all of that time there was still something more that I wanted to do, a dream that was left unfulfilled. I had always wanted to be a gymnast, but with my grueling schedules in everything else that I did, I was left with no time to do so.
I remember being in Pigeon Forge, TN during the summer of 1996 for dance nationals. I watched the Olympic torch being carried on its way to the Atlanta games. Just a few weeks later I would watch my idol, Dominique Moceanu, and the rest of the Magnificent Seven win Olympic team gold. It was a moment that made me proud and also inspired me. I wanted to be like those girls so much and I would continue to follow gymnastics very closely. Which brings me to current time, and how this all began.
After years of watching our competitive gymnastics team practice while I was at cheer practice or in tumbling classes, I knew that I could be like them someday too. Recently, I started following the stories of Alicia Sacramone and Shawn Johnson going for their comebacks in a pursuit of making another Olympic team. These two girls were around my age, they weren’t at the age that most consider the “peak time” for gymnasts, and they were beginning to do whatever it took to make their dreams come true. I was inspired. Then came the story of Jen Hansen, stunt double for Make It or Break It and former collegiate gymnast at the University of Kentucky. At 38 she was training to qualify as an elite gymnast for the first time in her life in hopes of making the National Team and possibly the Olympic team. I was more than inspired at that point. I finally sat back and thought to myself, what am I waiting for??
I realized that it is never too late to chase your dreams, and so it began. I called one of my coaches at the gym, Bobby. He had been my cheerleading coach and had also coached gymnastics and I asked for his help, he said yes, so it was on. Tuesday, October 25, 2011 was the day my gymnastics training began.
So here I am, at 24, learning how to swing bars for the first time and getting on a beam to do more than beam walks back and forth with a class. I felt more emotions in those first three and half hours than I had felt in awhile; fear, excitement, anxiety, stress, pain, weakness, and happiness, among others. By the end, my hands were bloody and my body ached but I was feeling more determined than ever. I was ready to commit and do this. I had never felt so proud of myself and so ready to get back at it. Since that day, I have been in the gym as much as I can working towards my dream. I hope that you will all follow me on this crazy journey and maybe you will be inspired to chase your dreams as well.
Until next time! XOXO Maegan