Winter, by Kathryn Avieson
I am running, the mat under me cushions my feet as they pound the floor, the wind is rushing past my ears
and I’ve never felt more alive. I jump onto the spring board and I am propelled into the air. I tuck tight and feel
myself rotating. I open out and land, feet slightly apart and knees bent. I turn around grinning from ear to ear
and present to my coach.
“I stuck it” I announced proudly. But my coach’s face tells a different story,
“you didn’t get enough height, your entry was closed and you didn’t hold your landing.” She starts saying,
“Go get some ankle weights, we’re going to do strength.”
I groan as I drag my cold feet towards the lockers filled with ankle weights otherwise known as torture tools.
Welcome to my life in winter.
The gym is cold in winter but we don’t feel it when we train. I’m Kathryn, 11 years old and I’m a gymnast.
Gymnastics is my life. I do fourteen and a half hours of it every week. I spend the rest of my time struggling
to finish my homework or practicing clarinet.
“That’s an extra minute of handstand thanks to Kathryn dilly-dallying” that’s enough to jolt me back to reality,
I hurriedly strap my weights on and prepare for torture, my least favourite part of gymnastics, strength. We
do this every training session first arms and shoulders, then legs and then abs. The rest of the time
gymnastics is great. We choreograph routines, do conditioning and then there are the competitions. Which
reminds me, I have comp in a week. State trials one. If I get a certain score or over I qualify for state, a big
comp where people from all over the state compete against each other.
I walk in the door heavily laden with all my school bags and bits and bobs. I dump them all in my room and
sit next to my mum in front of the television with the fire blazing next to me. My dad sets a yummy, nutrition
filled dinner in front of me- Pad Thai, yum my favourite. Between mouthfuls of pad Thai and hilarious scenes
from ‘The Simpsons’ I tell my parents about how not ready I am for comp. After I finish dinner I sit back and
watch the rest of the Simpsons. I look at my familiar surroundings the tall, paper light in the corner, the three
IKEA tables with empty bowls on them, the flower carpet, the black gas fireplace and the deep green
couches I’m lounging in, I move up the couch and embrace my mum. I smell her lovely fragrance and I think
to myself, what a nice winter.
I clean my teeth and get into my pyjamas. Then I am ready for bed, I don’t have time to read as its late so I
hop under the covers and turn my light off. I lie there for a few moments soaking in the warmth and then I fall
into a deep slumber.
It seems like a few seconds before I am woken by the sound of my alarm, I lean over and turn it off, 6:15
time to get up and get ready for school.
I am back in the gym. I’m feeling better about my performance today compared to Monday. But I don’t think
I’ll get into State. I’m starting to feel the pressure of the competition and I’m also starting to notIce how
everyone around me seems to progressing much faster than me. I fell off the beam twice and so I got two
rope climbs (don’t even ask what type of torture that is). One of the bigger girls, in the higher levels sprained
her ankle and I hurt my wrist. But I taped it with sports tape because I know how much I’ve got to improve
before the comp in just five days.
In the gym again. Comp is in three days. I’m improving now that I’m under so much pressure. I’m panicking
though. I really want to get into this competition. My teammates are feeling the pressure too. We are all trying
our hardest to get everything right. One upside is that after seeing how stressed we all are about comp my
coach is being really nice to us. She keeps telling us it will be OK and that we are worrying too much.
Great, tomorrow is the comp. I am so nervous but I keep trying to take my mind off it by pushing myself to do
the incredible. I am achieving more than I thought possible. The skills I am doing are beyond what I thought I
was physically able to do. My teammates on the other hand are not coping with the stress well. Every time
they do something wrong they freak out. Not that I don’t do that too.
We are discussing what we are going to do for our hair. I think I will put it in a bun but it might fall out.
Actually I am definitely not doing it in a bun because at the last comp it did fall out. Now I think I will put my
hair in a plait and double it over underneath.
TODAY IS THE COMPETITION! I am no longer nervous, ok that was a lie. But I am not as nervous as
before. I am more excited. I have packed a kit with hair spray, hair ties, grips, diamonties and of course,
LOLLIES! I think there is a possibility of getting into state and besides the adrenaline will help me. My
session is called and I walk down to the sydney Olympic park gym. It’s huge. I can’t think about that though
because I have to focus on my routines.
The comp passed in a blur. First was bars which I thought I did really well on, then beam which was pretty
good, then vault which was amazing for me and finally floor which was great except that I forgot a split leap.
During presentation I was absolutely rigid with anticipation. But the wait was worth it. I got second place on
bars, third on beam, FIRST on vault and third on floor. Overall I came second. It was a great comp!
That night I lay in my comfortable bed and just before I fell asleep I thought…
That’s an average winter for me!
By Kathryn Avieson
Winter, by Kathryn Avieson