I recently attended the USAIGC National Girls Gymnastics Championships to see my daughter Carissa compete. It was nerve-racking on several levels.
Though my wife owns and operates a highly successful gymnastics academy (JAG Gym in Culver City), and I am very familiar with every aspect of the sport, it’s hard not to worry about the possibility of injury on every cartwheel on the four-inch-wide balance beam and on every tumbling run, release move, and dismount.
Another source of pressure is the scoring system. Every athlete begins each event with the perfect score of 10. The judge’s job is to search for imperfections and deduct points for every form break, wobble or fall.
This places a huge premium on not making mistakes of any sort. In such a high-level competition every flaw can be fatal. Every girl knows how to execute every move in her routine but many can’t avoid being preoccupied with “not messing up.”
Thank goodness, real life is not like gymnastics. We are not judged only in terms of our shortcomings, mistakes, and failures. Growth, creativity, and innovation require risk-taking.
Fortunately, there’s no scorekeeper docking us for every misstep. We can trip and fall, get up, and start again as many times as we want. Most important, it’s never too late to be successful. It’s never too late to be happy. It’s never too late to be significant. So, go for it!
By the way, my daughter placed fourth in the all-around competition and won first place in the balance beam.
This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.