Serra & Ela

By: Serra Tuzun

Today was a pretty good day. 

It was Ela's first Special Olympics gymnastics meet, and she did an amazing job. Bringing home 4 golds and a silver (winning the all around for her age/level category), I can speak for my whole family when I say that we were proud. I have done gymnastics since I was 3 years old, and I love the sport so much, so seeing Ela not only competing, but succeeding and enjoying it, makes me even more appreciative of what gymnastics can do for people.

For so long, Ela has either had to come to my gymnastics meets or stay home with a babysitter. I probably have a dozen or so meets every year during my high school gymnastics season, lasting for about 4-5 hours every Saturday or Sunday in the winter, so calling Ela a "trooper" is an understatement. But today, she finally got to shine. 

She has been on her gymnastics team since September, and is just starting out in level 1. I knew that things would get pretty interesting when the first thing her coach said to my mom after her first practice was, "you brought in a ringer," and she was not wrong. Every week, Ela has felt more and more comfortable, getting to appreciate and love gymnastics like I do. Not only that, but she isn't shying away from competing or practicing, something I thought would definitely happen. But then again, I guess proving me wrong is what Ela does best. The best part of it all is that despite her constant protests to be called "Princess Moana", she giggles so much that her coach has started calling her "gigglebottom." I can tell every week that when she comes home from practice, Ela is full blog post.