The Importance of the “Soft” Stuff


Secret: I have a new favorite gymnast.

She is 12 year old Jaymes Marshall.

I first saw Jaymes when her vault from the 2016 JO Nationals lit up Facebook.

And then I recently read this interview she did for Inside Gymnastics.

In the interview, this very talented and highly accomplished gymnast was asked, “What’s some of your favorite gymnastics memories?”

Now keep in mind, this is a child who has won JOs, qualified to the Secret U.S. Championship and is being compared to Simone Biles.

Her response, “When I went to dinner and mini golf with my entire team.”

I love this response for a whole host of reasons, but mostly because it points to one of the most valuable parts of what it means to be part of team: the happy childhood memories that come along with.

The slumber parties. The beach days. The pizza parties. The amusement park trips. The sleepovers. The out of town trips. The swim parties. And yes, the miniature golf games.

Gym parents, if you want to be involved, organize these things. Coaches, please help facilitate too. These things. These are the things that make kids happy, help them feel connected and are fun.

I am psyched that I get to watch Jaymes live at the Secret Championship in St. Louis this weekend; and yes, you better bet I am going to find time to organize a miniature golf trip for my team kids!  (and you should too!)