The last week of July marked the week of the USATF Junior Olympics 2018 and Hannah had qualified for the second time in the Long Jump. However, unlike the previous year when the games took place in Sacramento, CA, they were being held in Greensboro, North Carolina which meant…yep, GIRL’S TRIP! It was only the second time Hannah was flying on an airplane. She was a little nervous…about the flight, the JO’s, and being away from her brother for almost a full week, which was a first for them.
Full disclosure…I’m completely aware that this is not the best photography in the world. I did bring my “good camera” on the trip but was making a point to be in the moment, making memories with my baby girl.
Greensboro, North Carolina
After a smooth flight, we wasted no time hooking up with friends to get the fun started.
The first few days were spent cheering for and supporting friends competing in various events at A&T University Agee Stadium. Our team did very well, sending several athletes to the games. We arrived early so Hannah could get adjusted to the time change and humid weather.
There was just one day where we were able to break away and explore downtown Greensboro. It was a lovely little city. People were so kind. The surroundings were quite different than what we’re used to here in Cali, making it fun to just walk around soaking it in.
As homeschoolers, we do our best to find learning in all things so we made a trip to the International Civil Rights Museum housed in a former Woolworth Store. It served as the site of non-violent protest during the civil rights movement. I was super excited to share this experience with Hannah. Apparently, so was every black parent visiting that weekend because the museum was PACKED to the point of turning people away. We missed our chance this time around.
Training didn’t stop because we were away from home. We found a nearby hight school to get work outs in.
Then came “game day” for Miss Hannah Love.
Now this is where a chunk of the story is missing because I took that one picture of her getting situated down at the long jump pit and the spent the rest of my time pacing back and forth, coaching her from the bleachers. I’m sure the stress of it took years off my life, which I can not afford because my kids are 8 and 10, super athletic, and just getting started. Coping skill are needed.
She competed against almost 70 other girls from all over the country and all said and done placed 7th IN THE NATION!!! I couldn’t have been prouder, however this picture pretty much sum up her feelings at the time. She worked so hard for so long and it paid off, but the payoff wasn’t what SHE wanted. She didn’t jump her personal best. In fact, she’d jumped better just a couple weeks earlier when the took gold in the California State Games. She also suffered an injury during that meet we feared might take her out of competition for JO’s all together, so the fact that she was able to accomplish what she did was incredible and worth celebrating. I feared she was missing it being stuck in disappointment. Knowing that she’s a true competitor, I get it but I didn’t want her to diminish the reality of what she’d accomplished. She is in fact one of the best of the best in her event. Period. Even though it wasn’t her strongest performance day, there were only 6 other girls out there who could beat her. Not too shabby. The pep talk got her slightly turned around, but not completely. Baby girl wanted to win, or at least reach her personal goal, jumping 14 feet. Her best jump was 13’5″ that day. I’m pretty sure I was jumping that as a freshman in high school, so I’m not worried about her future.
Top 8 received medals, hats, and patches to proudly signify their “All American” status.
She’s just getting started, I’m thrilled to see where she decides to take it.
This trip was amazing for so many reasons. Hannah came away with important life lessons around friendships, hard work, wins and losses. Our bond became even stronger having so much one on one time together. This time was a blessing and a total success. The fact that she came away with a medal is just a cherry on top of a pretty fantastic sundae. I’m proud of my little one. Her determination, drive and will blow me away. I pray that I can continue to steward that to serve her well in to her adult years. I thank God for blessing me with her. The fact that she’s my daughter only proves the love He has for me as His. I’m grateful.
Thanks Greensboro for memories that will last a lifetime.