Elijah Bustamante- MAG by Jane Pokou
Life is busy, and for most, it’s easy to get caught up in the world of the fast paced hustle-and-bustle day after day. However, for the parents of eight-year old gymnast, Elijah Bustamante, they are excited to hear about their son’s ‘FUN’ day at gymnastics. Every time Elijah returns home from gymnastics, he enlightens them with his enthusiasm and says: “Guess what I did today?”
A talented and natural gymnast coming from Coach Keenan’s Pre-Competitive 6 hour group after only one year, he is already in the Pre-Competitive 12 hour MAG Program with Coach Martin.
Elijah is always pumped up at gymnastics and he gets even more excited during training as he is always improving and setting goals as he acquires skills. Once a skill is mastered, he cannot wait to venture onto the next new skill. Having taken jazz dance and wushu (kung fu), his love for gymnastics remains strong because he finds that it has just the right balance of fun and challenge, and he loves challenging himself.
Elijah enjoys the thrill of going around the pommel horse, however, he likes to work hard and improve on all skills for each event so he can move up to the next level.
‘Gala’ apples are his favorite food. “I would love to eat apples all day.” Elijah usually eats three apples per day. He is quite aware of the healthy eating habits needed for training. If presented with sweets, on his own, he will usually ‘opt out for an apple’ instead.
Elijah is proud to be a gymnast. He has learned that accomplishing a skill comes by building on it little by little over time. He tells the story on how he was able to do a front flip on the trampoline. He first learned it landing in the pit, and after doing it on the trampoline a couple of times he was able to land it on the trampoline. This was a memorable event for him.
For Elijah, the frustrations of achieving a skill have become: ‘challenge accepted’. He works very hard and follows the direction of his coach to foster these skills. This athletic mindset comes from his gymnastics coach and it is a life skill that he applies to other areas in his life. It is definitely a ‘self-confident booster’ as seen from Elijah’s supportive parents. They are very happy that their son has found something he loves outside of school and is very passionate about it. They have seen how gymnastics has created the self-confidence and the drive to persevere in this sport as well as outside of gymnastics. And his parents, still new to gymnastics, have definitely enjoyed the journey with their son so far and find it to be a positive experience.
Elijah would prefer to do gymnastics any day for ‘long periods of time’ rather than stay at home and ‘do chores’. A 5ish early riser, he is very driven and takes it upon himself to do his warm ups, strength training and stretches on his own. He has excellent time management skills and balances school with his personal time and gymnastics. Elijah is a Level 6 swimmer and attends swimming lessons once a week. He also loves to play with his younger sister. He plays video games, his favorite being Dragon Quest Builders II which is based on adventures, building and creating towns, solving riddles and puzzles. A student in Grade 3, he has his heart set on being a ‘video game creator’, testing what works and what doesn’t i.e. software engineer.
Gymnastics is always on his subconscious mind. While he is focused on one thing, you will often see him doing gymnastic stretches or some other movements or exercises all while watching cartoons or simply having a conversation with his parents. And while most children at the park will be enjoying ‘Freezies’, Elijah will be practicing his gymnastics at every opportunity that presents itself even on the monkey bars, and also at home. “That armchair is the pommel horse. You can see his handprints,” his parents laugh. Replacing the furniture is definitely not an option at this time.
He truly loves the social aspect of meeting people and has made friends with his teammates who also love to do the same things as he does. To Elijah, gymnastics is ‘FUN’!!!
Coach Martin describes Elijah as well-mannered, courteous and a pleasure to work with. He always gives 100% and wants to improve on each event. He has a positive demeanour and he guides and inspires others. His self-confidence continues to grow with each and every training session.
Interviewing Elijah was a memorable experience. He has a great sense of humour. When asked if there was anything else I needed to know about him during his interview, he responded by saying: “I’m a private person”. Well, I think we can agree that most of the important stuff was covered in this article.
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