As their season approaches its end, the Ridgewood Woodnastics team is hoping to turn their record around with the help of Maddy DeVera, a sophomore gymnast who is looking to contribute in carrying the team to victory.
“I have been doing gymnastics for eight years,” DeVera explains. “I have been a part of the USAG (USA Gymnastics) and USAIGC (United States Associations of Independent Gymnastics Clubs) team at Aeon Fitness.”
Despite her commitment to such teams, DeVera decided to quit both this year and focus solely on the RHS Woodnastics team instead.
“Now that I have grown up, the sport is much harder, and too big of a commitment,” she tells.
When DeVera quit the aforementioned teams, she was a level 7 gymnast. To put that into context, one must be an experienced level 10 gymnast in order to be seriously recruited for division one.
In addition to the intensity, gymnastics is also extremely taxing on the body. Common injuries include hand fractures, ACL tears, spinal fractures, and a variety of other serious problems.
“I have gotten injured numerous times,” Maddy says. “I have broken my ankle twice and severely broken my elbow once. I have also fractured my wrists and pulled a muscle in my quad. Also, I have torn several ligaments in my foot.”
Not only is gymnastics physically challenging, but it is also mentally draining. Gymnasts often struggle with specific skills or events because their brain stops them out of fear.
“I struggle with mental blocks on events such as beam,” DeVera expresses. “Flipping on a four inch wide plank of wood that is almost four feet in the air is not exactly the least nerve-wracking thing. I also dealt with not being able to hangout with friends because I had to go to gymnastics.”
Nonetheless, gymnastics has had many positive effects on DeVera’s life and has brought about many memories and experiences, as she has “traveled to Maryland, Florida, and New York, as well as other areas around NJ for competitions.”
Through all of her hard-work and dedication, Maddy has developed a passion and love for the sport; thus, she has stuck with it for so many years and plans to continue.
“My favorite event is floor because you get the chance to show of your routine and dance around…it’s also the least scary,” she adds.
In addition to the skills she has learned and the places she has traveled, DeVera has formed incredible bonds with her teammates. When asked about her favorite part of the sport, she stated:
“I like my teammates the most. We bond through all the torture we are put through, like strength training for hours and hours.”
Overall, taking part in the sport for so many years has made her both physically and mentally strong.
“I have learned what it means to be dedicated,” DeVera tells. “Through hard work and determination your body is capable of many incredible things.”
Graphics: Sofia Lee