Our Children Are Not Normal

Our children are not normal....

As my daughter sleeps in a hotel room in another country at a competition shes worked so hard to be at.....I keep thinking of people who said she should quit. People who said it isn't normal and children should have normal lives. People who said it's too expensive and questioned my decision to keep my children in, what seems to be, the most expensive individual sport. I think of doctors who said she may never bounce again, and asked if it was worth the risk. Yet, these same people compliment my children on their behavior, their intellignece, their character. The irony. How can people question what this sport, this environment, offers to our children. We ask them to train insane hours every week, having them  miss birthday parties, sleepovers, and  football games. They push through pain and fear that most adults can not comprehend. We train these children to stand infront of judges who critique and pick apart every aspect of their technique and form. They stand before these judges hands quivering, legs trembling, and carry the weight of representing their parents, their coaches, their team, and their country. They carry the responsibility of having hundreds of younger athletes look up to them and watch their every move. These children are confident, determined, goal oriented, and driven. They are are not normal; they are exceptional. For every parent who has struggled with the financial obligation or feared they were making the wrong choices, and every coach who has wondered if it is all worth it or has thought of just working a "regular job," know you are appreciated. Know that when these well rounded children bring home good grades, don't cave to peer pressure, and become well grounded adults that you have been the support column that held thier future together.

-Amber Franke