JAG takes Manhattan

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This past weekend, approximately two dozen of JAG’s competitive team athletes travelled to New York City to participate in the Manhattan Classic.

Travel meets are an interesting dilemma.  They are expensive to attend (and there are plenty of good meets locally where the girls could go to compete).  Travel is hard on the coaches who have to be away from their families for several days (and they already sacrifice many weekends to their athletes).  They are logistical nightmares (flights, car services, hotel arrangements, entry rosters etc.).   Families have to make difficult decisions as to whether to attend as a family, with just one parent and the athlete or sometimes just sending the athlete with another family.   Uniforms, grips and music must be meticulously tracked and accounted for, as there is no dashing back to JAG to retrieve a forgotten item.  Time zones, dehydration that comes with travel, adapting to harsh weather and hoping that there are not weather delays are just some of the extra inconveniences.

Getting the team across the country feels a little like landing Normandy.

So why do it?  Is it worth it?

Well, look at these pictures, and you can see why.

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Matching travel shirts.

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Doing handstands all around Manhattan.

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Experiencing snow (for some of these southern California kiddos, for the very first time!)

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And then, of course, building a snowman the way that gymnasts see the world!

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Visiting the 9/11 memorial.

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Seeing Wicked.

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And Matilda.

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Chances to perform in front of east coast grandparents who have never seen their west coast granddaughter compete in a meet.  And then winning a first place!

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Team bonding in the hotel.

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And more bonding while watching other teammates compete.

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Room service!

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A special time with coaches.

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Winning the team spirit award.

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And, of course, NYC pizza.

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Sure, there were lots of medals and trophies that made the return trip home.

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But, I think this final picture says it all.

Yeah, we will be landing Normandy again next year.  Totally worth it.

P.S. If you want to see a video clip of 10 year old Emi doing her floor routine, it’s absolutely adorable.  And the judges thought so too, awarding her first place in the meet!

P.S. part two: A huge shout out to NYC Elite Gymnastics and my dear friend Tina Ferriola for hosting such an incredible competition!