Sunday, March 20, 2011

Casey's California State Competition In Gymnastics.

Friday was a very long day. We left around noon to drive down to the middle of California's Central Valley, near the Harris Ranch off of Highway 5. It ended up being like a 3 1/2 hour drive each way. Turns out that there's a gymnastics academy in Visalia. Normally their team has been making a very long commute to all the gymnastics meets in the northern California area, but yesterday they got the last laugh, since the State Competition was held in their area, near Lemoore. The land there is amazingly flat. Prairie flat, no hills. Well, it is the Central Valley. But I digress.

So we drove with one of Casey's teammates, Griffin, and his mom, Kathy, through some of the hardest rain we've had so far this winter. We got into Lemoore, drove past the big showy Tachi Palace, a reservation gambling resort, (and I stupidly made a joke about the Tacky Palace; I think it's actually pronounced Tah-chee) and drove on past it through open fields to the Tachi Yokut Reservation, where the meet was actually being held. The Santa Rosa Rancheria Tribal Center was new and quite nice, with a full playground inside the compound and various buildings for various community activities around the center, including a big gym where the meet was being held. I had no idea there was a reservation out in that part of the Central Valley before this; but it's really good to see that the tribe there is doing well thanks to the Tribal gambling agreements. It's revitalizing their tribe and helping raise their educational levels as well as their economic levels. More power to them, even if I don't gamble myself.

The actual competition was pretty tough; all of the best gymnasts from around the state were there, so there were some really amazing scores and phenomenal athletes competing there. Casey was on rings first, but didn't have as strong a routine as he has done in the past; I don't know whether he was psyched out or whether the long drive affected him or what, maybe a combination, but he didn't have as strong a showing as he's done at other meets this season.
Casey at the beginning of the rings routine.

Pommel. The judge on the far right has been involved with Boy's Gymnastics for over 50 years, I think.

The Mushroom, part of the pommel horse routine for the lower levels.

Mike spots Casey on the third flip in a row on the warm-up for the floor routine.

Griffin, Coach Michael, Nathan, Casey after the meet. Relieved. Goofy.
Casey did still place 7th on rings, earning a medal, but I know he was disappointed in how he did, especially on the parallel bars, where he had a serious balance bobble issue on the first handstand. He still got a respectable score on that, surprisingly, though it was really hard to watch as a parent. Heart in the throat wondering if he was going to have a serious fall and all that. He didn't fall, by the way, he managed to recover, but it was a near thing. Despite all of that, he still came in 17th all-around of the boys competing at Level 6. So he qualified to go on to Regionals, along with his teammate Griffin, who squeaked in under the wire to qualify as well. Hopefully driving with our noisy, rowdy crew hasn't put Griffin and his mom off from traveling together again in the future!

The drive home was easier, since the rain wasn't as heavy, and we played a lot of music for Kathy while the boys played hand-held games in the back and eventually crashed out. We introduced her to the music of Sam Baardman, which she really liked. There's some samples to listen to here, including Solar Flare, the song that Dave and Tom have made so popular in filk circles. (Paul and I want to work up a version with guitar and harmonica, eventually. Love that song.)  I'll also mention that Sam is a highly accomplished photographer and his dedicated photography website is a real treat for the eyes. So thanks to our long drive, there's another Sam Baardman fan out there now. :)

So, next month, Casey goes to the Western Regional Championships in Oakland, which is fortunately close to home and therefore affordable. Next year Regionals are in Hawaii, which will be a lot more problematic in so many ways. But Hawaii! It's a whole year away, though, so who knows what'll happen. I've never been to Hawaii... But money, and time off work, and all the hassles. But Hawaii!


  1. Tell Casey well-done and best of luck for his next meet. If Casey makes it to Regionals next year, you post a donation link for Paypal and we will get him (and the rest of you) to Hawaii.

  2. At least you and him, Ardyn and I will happily take Riley for the few days, if it becomes an issue of money.

    Congrats Casey!

  3. Where in HI next year (which city)? We have nice timeshare condos in the following HI cities: Hilo, Waikiki, Kapaa, Kehei and Lahaina (you've seen some of the ones in CA). If Casey qualifies for a trip to HI next year, you can have free lodging if it's near one of our places and there is space.

  4. Congratulations Glad he did so well.
    Hopefully he'll have that bobble worked out in time for regionals.
    Practice, Practice, Practice.

  5. Congratulations to Casey. Very impressive.

  6. Wooohooo Go Casey! Seeing his pictures make me laugh a little. Such a strong little guy and here I'm 28 and can't even do a single pullup....

  7. Thanks for the offer, Chuckles. :) I'm not sure of where in HI yet or even when, but we'll keep your offer in mind, for sure!

    And how do you think I feel, Angel! He's gone from being this little funny baby to this athlete and I can't do any of the things he just does so easily. I feel sooo old...