Freshmen Gymnasts Reflect on First Competitions


The West Potomac gymnastics team competed at Lake Braddock on Wednesday in front of dozens of fans — a relatively new experience for freshmen with the team for their first season.

“Gymnastics has helped with my first year of high school because I know new people,” said freshman Brielle Brown. “I’m close with the team.”

This team bond has an impact on the athletes’ performance and mindset.

“When I do well I feel really good, like I brought up the team and was an impact on them,” said freshman Jessica Foss.

The desire to perform well is motivated by another factor as well: self-preservation.

“When I do a good job I’m really happy that I didn’t embarrass myself,” said Brown.

These gymnasts shouldn’t have anything to worry about — they start training at a very young age to prepare for a life of competitions.

“I started gymnastics when I was four,” said Brown. “I wanted to because my sister did it and I wanted to be like her.”

The young ages of these athletes is surprising considering the many possible injuries that accompany gymnastics.

“Beam is my least favorite event,” said freshman Jessica Foss. “When I first tried it I fell and it was really painful… I’ve never liked it since.”

On top of the physical danger, gymnastics brings with it the pressures of being part of a team and being held accountable for your performance.

“When I don’t do so well I just get mad at myself,” said Foss. “I didn’t do that well at our meet yesterday and I was really mad about it.”

This was a common response among athletes.

“When I do badly I’m kind of mad at myself because I know I could do better,” said Brown.

So how do they cope with these let-downs?

“I talked to my mom and she told me I just have to get past it because I can’t do anything about it now,” said Foss. “I just tell myself I’ll do better next time.”