Guest Blog: Nicole Angeleen - Little Girls Dream Big
Today, Nicole Angeleen will tell you about a new gymnastics book that just hit the market. It is called "Little Girls Dream Big" and is inspired by the story of Romanian gymnast Adriana Giurca.
About the book:
Olympic gymnast Trixie Dalca’s world is destroyed the day her sister Ileana falls during training, slips into a coma, and dies. To cope with the loss, Trixie turns to her best friend, American gymnast Shaye Sylvester. Together with Shaye and amateur documentary filmmaker Abby Vicari, the three unlikely investigators question whether Ileana’s death was merely a tragic accident or murder.
I remember the first time I did a flip and landed it cleanly. I was nine-years-old, and even though I had been trying it in practice for quite a while without success, I woke up one Saturday morning feeling like today was the day. The flip was itching in my legs. I knew I could do it.
So I walked out my front door and went to the long expanse of grass between our house and the neighbor’s. I ran a few steps, then roundoff, backhandspring, backflip! Bam. Just like that.
Until that day, I had been afraid to practice without a crash mat. But something switched in my brain that morning, and I knew I could do it. The feeling was amazing. However briefly, knowing you are not confined to the earth, knowing you are strong enough to fly, is empowering. I wasn’t a mere fourth-grader anymore. I was a bird, a rocket, a spirit in flight.
This is why we love gymnastics. For those flashing moments of greatness in ourselves and in the athletes we love so much, moments that we know only come after years of repetition, injuries, and failure. I wasn’t a great gymnast. I never had real dreams outside pretending on the trampoline in my backyard of being in the Olympics. None of that really matters, though, when you finally hit a skill you thought you’d never be able to land or you were too afraid to try until the day where your desire outweighs your fear and you do it anyway.
As an adult, I still find myself with my heart in my throat as I watch the young NCAA and national team gymnasts accomplish what really shouldn’t be humanly possible. That’s what gymnastics is. Gymnastics is not allowing convention to dictate the course of your life and laughing in the face of physics. Long after we have hung up our leotards, we follow the careers of the ones who make it to the top because we want to remember that day when we were nine-years-old and learned to fly.
When you grow up, your dreams get smaller. They become less grand and more tangible because along the way, we start to think maybe we’re not capable of doing something great or bigger than ourselves. I know for me, thinking back to some of the stuff I somehow became brave enough to try when I was so young gives me courage to go after my dreams now, despite the fact that I may fail. Gymnastics teaches us that it’s okay to fall, you have to fall– hard and often– before you succeed. Gymnastics utilizes failure at the beginning of the journey, failure as the great teacher, and failure as a necessary step on the road to success.
I wrote “Little Girls Dream Big” with these themes in mind. Trixie, Shaye, and Abby, the three teenagers in the story, are not so different from you and I. They have heartache and doubts, but where they might be different is they make the conscious decision that they would rather try and live with the failure than never try at all. Sometimes I need to be reminded of that. I think we all do.
And that’s also really why we all love gymnastics. It’s not simply the moments of glory. It’s because we want to honor the child inside, the little voice that can get very quiet as we grow up but never goes away, that tells us we can be great if only we have the courage to try.
- Nicole Angeleen
If you would like to read “Little Girls Dream Big,” the story of two Olympic gymnasts and the search for the truth of what happened to a little girl who died during training, visit www.nicoleangeleen.com or search Amazon or Smashwords.