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 the only the second time Hannah was flying on an airplane. The first time she was really too young to get what was happening. Now, she was fully aware and just a little nervous…about flying, about the JO’s, and about being away from her brother for almost a full week, which was a first.
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 really didn’t use it. I was making a point to be in the moment and make memories with my baby girl and just forgot to take tons of pictures. There was also the fact that I was a nervous wreck because she was competing.
The flight was smooth. We landed in Greensboro and wasted no time, hooking up with friends and getting the fun started.
We arrived early so Hannah could get adjusted to the time change and humid North Carolina weather. The first few days were spent going down to A&T University Agee Stadium to cheer on and support friends competing in various events. Our team as a whole did very well sending several athletes to the games.
There was just one day where we were able to break away and explore downtown Greensboro some. It was a lovely little city. People were kind, and the surroundings were quite different than what we’re used to here in Cali, making it fun to just walk around and soak it in.
As homeschoolers, we do our best to find the learning in all things and experiences so we made a trip out the the International Civil Rights Museum housed in a former Woolworth Store that 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 other black parent visiting that weekend because the museum was PACKED to the point of turning people away and we were unable to go.
Training didn’t stop just because we were away from home. We found a high school nearby to get work outs in.
And 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 and 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, but this picture pretty much sum up her feelings at the time. She worked so hard for so long and it paid off, however 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. She unfortunately, was missing it because she was stuck in disappointment. She’s a true competitor. She gets it honest so I get it but I didn’t want her to diminish the reality of what she accomplished. I didn’t want her to lose sight of the fact that she was in fact one of the best of the best in her event. Period. That 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 certainly 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 and she was heated over it. I’m pretty sure I was jumping that as a freshman in high school, so I’m not worried.
Top 8 received medals, hats, and patches to proudly signify their “All American” status. There’s my fierce baby girl, standing with her medal that she earned as one of the best in the nation in her event.
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.