Hey Ladies gym fans! This is Dot, Dot, Dot coming at you with this week's gym talk! This past week was jam-packed, fun-filled, and spent side-by-side nearly the entire time! We kicked off the week on Wednesday, our first day back in class after fall break, which also happened to be our first day of practice! We raised the stakes on beam with a game that lasted throughout the day; senior beam queen Navia Jordan won the competition and the prize of sitting out one stadium the next morning at track practice. This track practice was our first cold morning we had to be out "dark and early" as we call it, but we didn't let the cold stop us from getting in a great workout before a full day of classes. Later that day, we picked up a special visitor, a recruit from Hawai'i! While that night was full of studying, we also got to enjoy taking her to eat her first calzone!!
Friday, we had a full team practice. (Minus me and Cami, who spent our Friday afternoons having fun in organic chemistry lab!) Practice was full of energy and lots of beautiful gymnastics! We then kicked off team retreat with a trip to the escape room. While the insane asylum team escaped with a few minutes remaining, I'm sad to say that my team didn't make it out of the Amazon... I'm still proud of how we did and how well we worked together to complete nearly all the puzzles! (I think ours must've been the more difficult room ��) After working out our bodies at gym and our brains at the escape rooms, we were starving! Team dinner at Chili's was full of shenanigans and bonding like always, including taking shots of vinaigrette while waiting for our food to arrive!
We followed up dinner with team-building games at the fit! We talked about the importance of communication and played telephone to remind us how much damage gossiping can do and how far from the truth things can become by the time they reach your ears! These are of course great lessons for a group of 14 girls (I mean Ladies) who often spend every waking moment together, but they're also lessons we will carry with us to our jobs, our families, and whatever else we decide to take on in life! We also played a classic, charades, which is always fun and hilarious, and concluded our time together by writing letters to the University of Illinois Chicago's Athletic Director and Chancellor to advocate for the continuation of their men's and women's gymnastics programs following the 2019 season. After all these games, we wound down, rehearsed our skits for the next night, or squeezed in some homework before bed. Your juniors (Cami and I) buckled down and had a quick review session for our organic chemistry test we took on Monday. (Fingers crossed for good grades!!)
Team retreat part two started off Saturday morning at Coach Jackie's house, a.k.a. the lake shack. If you didn't know, the Ladies love to carpool everywhere (gym, practice, team events, dinner, the grocery store, etc.). If all 14 of us (and our bags, pillows, and blankets) arriving at Coach Jackie's house squeezed in three small cars isn't a testament to that, I don't know what is! We started the morning by finishing writing positive notes to each other, then we set the team goals, quote, and hashtag(s) for the year. We decided to dedicate this year to Sylvia Keiter (Big Syl) by doing everything, from school to gym to loving our friends, BIG! Expect great things and lots of smiles and fun from your Ladies this year!
Throughout the day, we had some more team-building activities, including making our lunch (pizza) with our hands tied to each other, and activities led by our very own team building mentor, Shelley McMillian. She taught us some valuable lessons about the importance of stepping up on the team and taking risks (not being afraid of being wrong). Thank you Shelley (and Joey) for stopping by and entertaining us! We also ate our favorite meal, Coach Jackie's baked ziti, and performed our class skits. While all of the skits were certainly entertaining, the skit that will stick with us the most is probably the sophomore's short spoken word about what it means to be a Lady.
We also enjoyed a spur-of-the-moment karaoke and line dancing session. Wow, my Ladies are talented. Who knew we had such performers on the team?! We settled down with the M&M game to get to know each other a little better, although that's pretty difficult considering how well we already know each other. That became pretty obvious with how much trouble we had answering the question of something no one on the team knows about you (which we ended up having to switch to something most people on the team don't know about you)! After getting our PJ's on and our beds set up, we ended the jam-packed day cuddled up with each other (and lots of popcorn) to watch Remember the Titans in honor of Sylvia as that was her favorite movie of all time! Thank you to Coach Jackie for putting together and hosting such an amazing weekend full of bonding, laughs, and setting goals!
Sunday morning we woke up to the delicious smell of pancakes, bacon, and sausage (turkey of course)! After a quick breakfast we headed back home for some studying (or napping) before our first intrasquad of the year! The three-event intrasquad (bars, beam, and floor) kicked off full of energy. The Ladies competing absolutely killed the warm-up! It was so quick, efficient, and calm; they acted like pros, like they were ready to compete for real! The competition was great, too, and was a great start to living up to our goals for the year! Shoutout to freshman Kendall Sanders (K1) for being a rock on all three of her events, and particularly for catching every geinger she threw in warm-up and in competition! Some other highlights include senior Aspen Hattley's powerful bar work, Navia's always graceful beam and floor, and freshman Kendall Knaps' (K2) gorgeous new bar dismount! I was so impressed with the poise with which the Ladies competed. They really got the job done and impressed Coach Jackie and the rest of us watching. Your Ladies have put in tons of hard work leading up to now, and it's paying off. The intrasquad was so fun to watch and be a part of. Starting off on such a high note just gets me so excited for this year! We ended the night going all-out on our sprint and quick feet tests, which left us dragging our feet (but feeling accomplished) on the way out.
Monday was back to the routine (and organic chemistry tests), but with an exciting twist: We unloaded a bunch of brand new equipment and mats for our competition arena, the Gold Dome!
Maybe you saw some of the fun of the weekend on our social media pages; if you didn't, I encourage you to start keeping up with us. I promise you will ALWAYS be entertained! If you want to follow/add us, our Instagram is @centenarygymnastics and our snapchat is @centenarygym! Tune in next week to see how we're keeping up with the goals we've set. Catch ya on the flip �� side!