Saturday, July 28, 2012

Our Own Personal Olympics

I hope this post finds you all well.  I know I've missed being here with you every day, but summer for us is fair season.  We've reached the final week of preparation, and I thought I'd share with you where we all are...

If you listen to the Olympic athletes that will be interviewed over the next two weeks, they'll tell you that a HUGE part of the games is mental.  They all know they have the skills to compete at such a high level.  They all have a great deal of confidence in these skills - some of them training for many, many years.  The hardest part is conquering the nerves, not letting the Olympic spotlight blind them from seeing their goals.

In our house, we have a competitor who has all the skills.  And she knows she does.  She has practiced for years, and has taken her fair share of blue ribbons and personal bests to give her confidence.  But this year is somehow different.  Princess enrolled in 4H this year to open up some new learning and competitive opportunities.  For the first time, she'll have to actually answer to a judge face to face during an interview process.  And for the first time, she's battling not only the deadline of having all the projects done to be submitted for judging, but she's also battling the nerves that go with a higher level of competition.

If you know her personally, you know she's a rock star in her own right.  She started crocheting at an age when most kids are just getting the hang of coloring with crayons.  She's been taking amazing photos for many years, and a few years ago taught herself to embroider.  Which of course she nailed the first time she gave it a go.

But this time it's different.  She doesn't just have to answer to herself and just be judged anonymously.  It's going to be up close and personal.  And the possibility of competing at the state level is on the line.  And that's what's giving her the case of nerves.  This is a big, new, scary world, and despite her maturity, grace and confidence, it's a little daunting.

By this time next week, we'll know for sure if any of her 4H projects will qualify for competition at the Illinois State Fair, and which one she'll take if any of them do qualify.  It'll be time to finalize our plans to go to Springfield for the day.  Or not.  And then it will be on to the Sandwich Fair, the second largest fair in the state.  It's kind of like Nationals, Worlds and the Olympics for a figure skater.

If you have a competitor in your house, whether it's an Olympian or a kid in the Chess Club at school, I pray that they find the grace to trust in their own abilities, to ignore any outside distractions, to be confident, and to enjoy the moment.  And I ask that you pray the same for our competitor.

Have a great weekend, everyone, and I'll be sure to post our fair results next week!

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