Dear Annie and Kirstin.
The first question I have for you is, “How did we get here so fast?” It feels like last week that you each walked into my gym. A little awkward, a little shy, maybe a little afraid of me. I remember looking at you and thinking, “this will be fun”.
I remember when my own children reached their senior year, they become, at times, hard to live with. They are trying to separate themselves and to assert their independence. I read that this transition makes going off to college easier on the parents. In the gym, it doesn’t EVER make it easier. When we see you show your independence and assert yourself; when we see you become another set of eyes for us and help out your younger teammates it is a constant reminder of how much we will miss you and what you contribute. Please know that I am so happy for you and I’m so excited for this new chapter in your life! My brain knows this but my heart feels something different.
Remember the things we taught you when you are faced with challenges because there will be bigger ones in college. Remember your morals, your values and your integrity. Hold on to those. Remember that you ALWAYS have a choice. Remember that the choices you make can and will be positive or negative and you determine that outcome. Take responsibility for your choices. Don’t blame others. Look past the moment. Be a leader. Be a friend. Study. Study some more.
Because of the internet, much of what you do will be posted in some social media. Choose wisely. Ask yourself, “Do I want this showing up in a few years?” “How do I want others to perceive me?” “Do I want a potential employer to see this?” “Do I want my grandma to see this?” “Do I want Tony to see this?” Think before you post! You will thank me, I promise!
Most of all, have fun and enjoy these years because as you will see, they will fly by all too fast! You will make lifelong friends during your college years. You will have some amazing opportunities come your way. Enjoy them! Take advantage of them!
You know me and you know I am always full of advice. Let me leave you with some advice.
- Sometime down the road –maybe in the middle of your life – you will think back to your time at ATLANTIC and suddenly laugh out loud over your coaches quirks. Remembering things they said or things they wore. Enjoy having known them.
- Thinking of your coaches, one day you may work for a micromanager that has his/her own way of running the show and insists on insane levels of organization in the office. Send a thank you note to Matt, Ali or Cori who insisted on you making every second of practice count. When you need to get organized, you’ll be right back in the gym.
- When a crisis looms, stay calm and keep your dignity. Something will always work out if you work hard enough and treat people the way you want to be treated. It’s no different than getting ready to mount Beam at Regionals or Nationals. Stay calm, go up and do your job.
- Don’t rush through life. Enjoy the simple pleasures of today. In this hectic life we all live sometimes we wait for tomorrow or next year or vacation or retirement to get to the projects we want to tackle. Tomorrow is not guaranteed.
- Take the time to say thank you. Whether someone held the door for you, promoted you or gave a gift, a thank you is always appreciated. Old school, snail mailed thank you notes are still a welcomed surprise. People always remember that you sent a note.
- Never underestimate the power of boosting someone’s morale or making them laugh.
- Take care of your health and get sleep. This is really easy to undervalue.
- I love nearly every minute I spend at the gym. Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life. When you are passionate about something and want to make a career out of it, then working hard to make that happen doesn’t seem like work.
- Make a plan for your future, but don’t stress out about going to college and turning the world around in four years. Think it through and make a plan.
- Never stop learning. Your curiosity should not be silenced. Read. Read offline. Take a course. Go to a seminar. Listen to National Public Radio. Love music. Talk to your elders. Discover something. Investigate. No matter where you are and no matter what your financial situation is, there is always a way to learn something new.
- Take time to be alone with your thoughts.
- People change. You will too. Friends slip away. Some come back into your life. Years from now you may become good friends with someone you only casually know now.
- If there is something nice you want to say to someone then say it. Don’t be afraid to be sentimental or complimentary. You might just turn the day around for someone.
- At some point in your education you were the subject of charity whether you knew it or not: grants, scholarships, donations, acts of kindness, and property taxes were used to educate you. Be charitable in your heart and your actions. Going forward, with every success you have in life, remember to give thanks and give something back, whether it is time, talent or treasure.
- Don’t be afraid of love. You probably know more families that are divorced than are still married, or close to it. Share your heart, just don’t give it away. Loving someone with your whole heart is an amazing gift.
- Have faith in your life. Have faith in yourself, too. I have always believed in you.
- On Money: If you earn two dollars more today I promise that you will find a way to need three dollars more tomorrow. Save some, spend some, but do not spent your life chasing the dollar.
- Sometimes you just have to show up. There were days that you didn’t want to come to practice but you did. Showing up is 1/2 the fight. Apply this rule when least expected.
- For me, Atlantic Gymnastics will always be my home. I hope you know that you ALWAYS have a home.
- Here are the GPS coordinates incase you get lost. 43.095338700, -70.791058300
Thank you, times infinity, to my Mom and Dad for your unconditional love, support, and guidance and for driving me hundreds of thousands of miles to (and even from!) who knows how many practices and competitions. I am eternally grateful for everything you have (and haven’t) done to allow me to pursue my passion, and I will forever cherish our “car time.” A special thank you to my sister, Kate, for introducing me to the sport 16 years ago and for continuing to love and support me and my gymnastics even after hearing the compulsory floor music a few too many times. Thank you to my coaches, Alli, Matt, and Cori, for respecting and caring about me not only as an athlete, but also as an individual. I appreciate all of the time and energy each of you have put toward me both in and out of the gym. Thank you to my teammates for always brightening my day and sticking by my side. I’m gonna miss seeing your beautiful, smiling faces every day! I look forward to carrying everything I have learned throughout my NH gymnastics career with me for the rest of my life — especially to Brown University 🙂
Before I begin my new journey of becoming a nursing major, I would like to thank everybody who has helped throughout my life as a gymnast. First and foremost, I would like to thank mom who has been many things for me throughout the years including personal chauffeur, psychologist, hair stylist, number one fan, and most importantly, loving mom! I am also grateful for the support of my dad, brothers, grandparents, aunt, uncle and cousins for attending all that they could to cheer me on and make me smile. I also want to recognize all the coaches that I have worked with over the years and especially thank Alli, Cori, Matt, and Jen. You have all helped me out in different ways the past 4 years and I know I couldn’t have accomplished all that I have without you. Lastly, I want to thank all of my teammates; you guys are amazing! You are always there to support me and make me smile. I will miss you all very much and I will do my best to visit as often as I can. I cannot wait to see all that you will accomplish.