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Fight by Hannah Thomas

Most people who know me know that I am obsessed with the sport of gymnastics.  Despite being a terrible gymnast myself I fell in love with the sport.  The love of the sport and lack of ability led me to coaching which has provided me with many great opportunities and has introduced me to some great people.  Jeryka (Lobner) Lawrence is one of the best.  I was fortunate to coach with Jeryka for four years.  During our times coaching together she became one of my best friends.  We shared drills, goals, frustrations, laffy taffy jokes, troll sightings, rides to Kansas City, lots of text messages, and our picks for the next Olympic team.  We also created incredible memories of running through airports, singing turtle cheers, teaching new skills, attending congress, and encouraging athletes.  We now coach different teams but not a lot else has changed.  Jeryka always has the answers and the ability to encourage and inspire me in any situation.  I love seeing her at meets and she never ceases to amaze me with the improvements her athletes have made.

This weekend I have the honor to step in and coach for Jeryka Lawrence (Manhattan Gymnastics Academy) at National Judge’s Cup.  She is unable to make this trip as she is busy fighting a battle against cancer.  In preparation for the meet I have been thinking about how I can coach like Jeryka at this meet (and always).  I have been reflecting on the many ways Jeryka has taught me, and countless others, how to FIGHT.

Fun – I have never been to a meet with her that was not fun.  She enjoys the experience and her athletes.  Lives in the moment and is always smiling.

Inspire – Jeryka’s life and journey are an inspiration.  Her ability to keep fighting with a positive attitude is amazing.  As a coach, I tell my athletes to work hard, to fight, to never give up but she demonstrates it every day.

Grow – I have watched Jeryka grow as a coach, person, and business owner.  Five years ago it was her dream to own a gym and produce the quality of athletes she does today.  Today Jeryka’s goals have become her reality due to her dedication, willingness to never stop learning, and hard work.

Help – Jeryka has helped her athletes reach their goals, overcome mental blocks, and become outstanding young ladies.  She has helped me teach skills, spot, clean, enjoy trips, set up events, create schedules …. the list is endless.  Most importantly she has helped me to better understand life, friendship, and coaching.

Tough – You won’t find anyone tougher than Jeryka.  She has been through far more than any person deserves to be put through.  Even through it all she remains positive and keeps going.

So this weekend as I have the honor to coach an amazing athlete (Monroe Say) and represent Manhattan Gymnastics Academy and Kansas at Judge’s Cup I hope that I remember the many ways Jeryka has taught me to fight.

January 10, 2015 | Blog | 0

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