World balance beam champion Ashley Postell loves college life.
Nov. 17, 2004
SALT LAKE CITY -
Each week a Ute gymnast submits an excerpt for the Utah Gymnastics Journal. This week's edition is provided by freshman Ashley Postell.
First, let me say how much I am enjoying it here in Utah. College is great! Everyone has been very welcoming and I love all of my new teammates and coaches. Since I was home schooled for the past three years, I was a little nervous about college classes, but those are all going well.
This has been an interesting transition for me and Greg thought Utah gymnastics fans might like to hear a little bit about what led me to Utah.
Just over a year ago everything in my life was going according to plan. I had made my second World Championships Team, and was the defending World Champion on balance beam. I had been working very hard over the past few years with the hope of making the Olympic Team, and everything couldn't have been going better. I felt my dream was within my grasp. Then last September, just days before the World Championships in Anaheim, I got sick and had to withdraw from the competition. Of course I was extremely disappointed, but I knew that my ultimate goal was still a year away.
What I didn't know is what a difficult year it would be. My training was inconsistent as a result of nagging injuries, first to my shoulder and then my ankle. I never felt that I was able to completely prepare for competitions in the way I would have liked. Then in June came USA Championships. I finished 13th after missing my bar dismount--my last event of the competition. Only 12 qualified on to the Olympic Trials. I was devastated! I didn't know what to do or think or say. In one split second everything had changed. No Trials, no Olympics. I had not even allowed myself to consider that possibility and was totally unprepared to deal with it. I went home and had a week off from practice. When I came back I began training for college and was taking it pretty easy.
Then a few days before Trials I got a call from USA Gymnastics and was given an opportunity to replace someone who had been injured. The timing was terrible because I was not doing routines. It was probably the most difficult decision of my life. I didn't want to go and just participate in Trials. I wanted to make the team! I knew that if I was at my best, I could. But I realized that I was not ready to do what I was capable of doing. Somehow I knew it was time to move on.
It was at that moment I really began to get excited about going to college. Thank goodness my mom had helped me stay focused on keeping that option open. I wouldn't be here without her. What I still wasn't sure of though is if I really wanted to do gymnastics for four more years. I was worried about whether I would still have the fire inside. Well, I'm happy to report that the fire is returning. This has been a great new experience. It's different in so many ways I can't completely explain it. Let's just say I feel that I am in control of my life and of my gymnastics. I am treated as an adult and expected to accept responsibility for my decisions--but the decisions are mine. I needed that!
When I listen to the upperclassmen talk about the upcoming season and competing in front of our 10,000 fans, I get a tingling feeling inside. I can't wait. The fire is back!
OK, enough about me. Our team is doing great. We are in the middle of routine development, but almost everyone is doing full routines already. I think our team is going to be great this year. Everyone is working so hard and seems really determined. It's contagious!
November 8 was Greg's birthday, so the night before the whole team snuck into his office and filled it with confetti, streamers and posters. He's a bit of a neat freak you know, so we moved everything around, broke all his pencils, and hid things. I guess we kind of trashed it...tee hee ). A little pay back! He said it took him two hours to clean up the mess. Before practice started, we all gave him a cake with too many candles to count.
Last Wednesday was signing day for our newest Utes, Kristina Baskett and Nina Kim. We have all been so excited since September when they verbally committed, but we couldn't say anything until now. We all fell in love with them during their official visit and can't wait to have them join the team next fall. I think both are going to try to come out for one of our home meets. It will be fun to show them what they can expect.
The T.J. Max Gymnastics tour was at the Delta Center on Friday and some of us went to see the show. I was in it last year, so it was fun to see some of the people again.
Saturday, our team did a birthday party in the gym for about 12 little girls. It was purchased at the Crimson Club auction last year. They had a great time and it turned out to be fun for us too. Then later that afternoon, the gymnastics team sponsored a football watching party at the dorms. As you probably know, the game was not shown due to a power outage in Laramie, but we had a blast anyway.
Well that's enough. Probably more than enough. Whew. I wonder if I can use this for my writing class? Anyway, come by and see us at practice, and don't forget to come to our Red vs. White intra-squad at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 3, in the Huntsman Center. It's free!