From Past to Present, Part 2: The Revelation
TRIGGER WARNING: THE FOLLOWING BLOG ARTICLE DEALS WITH SUICIDE ATTEMPTS AND IDEATION. READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED.
I felt lost from the moment I stopped committing my life to my gymnastics training. I suffered from depression and didn’t know how to deal with it.
When I was 15 years old, I tried to take my own life.
I took a bunch of pills that were in a drawer. My father found me on the bathroom floor. He picked me up and rushed me to the hospital. They treated me for an overdose, and I remained in the hospital for a few days for observation.
I was lucky to have a full recovery from the incident. I was given help at the hospital and continued outpatient treatment for my depression. I then turned to drugs to deal with my issues.
Then one day, I was coaching gymnastics, and an athlete made me a card. She wrote me a note about how much she loved having me as her coach and how much she loved gymnastics. I was flooded with emotions, and I had to hold back tears. This athlete had no idea what I was going through, and her letter could not have come at a better moment.
I was in such a dark place, and her letter flicked a switch inside of me.
I felt a sense of purpose in a sport that I loved and confirmed that coaching was my calling. Coaching was what I was meant to do.
Throughout the next couple of years, I coached competitive artistic gymnastics. When I was 17years old, I decided to become a personal trainer and add coaching trampoline. Although trampoline is a discipline of gymnastics, it is an entirely different sport. I walked into a trampoline club called Airborne Trampoline to inquire if they needed coaches, and they hired me on the spot.
They asked me if I would start a competitive program for them. As I coached high-performance artistic gymnastics, I was sure it was something I could do. However, I had no experience coaching competitive trampoline, so I decided to seek a mentor.
It just so happened that one of the best trampoline coaches in the world lived in my own backyard (not exaggerating!). I am so lucky to have been able to connect with Dave Ross. Artistic gymnastics was not an inclusive space, and it was very rare for coaches to help each other.
After meeting Dave, he invited me into his gym and was so warm and welcoming.
WOW, did I learn a lot, and fast.
He allowed me to ask him anything at any time, and he is just a fountain of information. I am forever grateful and appreciate all of the information, guidance, and opportunity he gave me. I remember helping in the gym, and he put me on a trampoline to stand by for athletes.
Karen, an Olympic medallist at the time, stepped on. She completed her turn and asked for some feedback. I responded she did a good job and could move on to the next drill.
I have to be honest. As Karen asked for my input, I wondered why this person would want to know what I think. She is an Olympic medallist, and I am a nobody. I had so much self-doubt and no confidence. After a few months and asking Dave a million questions, I was much more confident with my ability to implement solid technique with any level of skills.
He helped me understand the physics aspect of Trampoline and the applications of the fundamentals. I improved my ability to identify problems in skill and help the athletes perfect it. I was ready to start a competitive program!
Thank you for visiting.
— Jen Lee