THIRTY-NINE point four degrees Celsius was the reading on the thermometer when I took my daughter Ella’s temperature the night before her first gymnastics competition. It was weird for someone who hardly gets sick (which I attribute to her being a fully breast-fed baby). There was neither cough nor colds, just high fever that came from nowhere.

In spite of her high temperature and feeling weak, she was decided to get well and join the competition. Her Lolo and Lola were already conditioning her that in case she didn’t get well the next day it’s okay to forego this one as there will be many more competitions that she can join in the future. But she was dead set on recovering.

She religiously followed every remedy that would make her get well. And sure enough, the next day, the fever was gone and she got the go signal from our doctor to join the competition. It was as if she knew that was to happen.

After only a month of training, she has grown passionate and dedicated to the sport. And to culminate the summer program, the new gymnasts were given the opportunity to experience a real competition. It was a friendship meet, but still, it was a competition with rules and distinguished judges who would score their performances.

So to prepare for their 4:30 p.m. competition, she got her hair and makeup done at Victor Ortega Salon at 12 noon. Even that was all part of the whole experience. She felt special—just like a real gymnast.

At 1:30 p.m. they all gathered at the activity center of The District North Point, an Ayala mall in Talisay City, where the competition was to take place. Little gymnasts warmed up and did cartwheels, bridges, splits and all sorts of stunts. It was a beautiful sight!

They were each given a chance to practice their routine before the actual competition. The nervousness and excitement was evident among the gymnasts as family and relatives started filling the audience area. Some gymnasts together with their coaches were even able to experience being interviewed on TV as the GMA News Team came to feature the event.

Then it was time to begin. The host for the afternoon, Adrian Bobe, opened the event, with the Pambansang Awit sung by Abigaile Capay, JumpStart founder and coach, and the opening prayer led by Megan Reyes. The opening number was an impressive production by all the students from the youngest (3-year-old) gymnasts to the most senior (12-year-old) gymnasts.

As soon as the judges were in place, my daughter, Ella, was called, being the first to do the solo performance. As she did her cartwheels and rolls, there was no trace of fever that was there the night before. She was nervous yet passionate about what she was doing. I was a proud Mom!

The 10 other gymnasts who performed were fantastic! You wouldn’t think that they are new to the sport. In between solo performances, the artistic group and the rhythmic group performed their numbers. After the competition, there was a short exhibition by the artistic gymnasts from Pulupandan.

The full experience happened when Coach Benjamin Capay conducted the awarding. Although all 11 gymnasts received medals and certificates, they were each scored based on the level of difficulty, execution and choreography— a total of 30 points.

The following were the gold medalists: Megan Reyes – 15.5, Jenny Eusebio – 14.4, Malexi Puentevella – 13.9; silver medalists: Nicole Pura – 12.0, Dominique Infante – 11.5, Angel dela Peña – 10.9; bronze medalists: Ella Ochoa – 10.3, Rita Cuadra – 10.2, Pauline Velez – 10.1, Keona Sayo – 9.0, and Sayana Tabuga – 8.9.

This was a memorable experience especially for the 11 young gymnasts, which fired up their passion for this new sport that they have grown to love over the summer.