“Gymnastics taught me everything- life lessons, responsibility and discipline and respect.” -Shawn Johnson (Former Olympic gymnast). In my interview with Franchesca Hutton-Lau I found this quote to prove very true to her. Franchesca Hutton-Lau, often called Frankee by her friends and teammates, has been a gymnast ever since she was five years old. In my interview with her, she enlightened me on her struggles, experiences, lessons, and successes which she’s taken from this treacherous sport. Chesca, as I call her, has a very different life from the average high school student.
Franchesca got started in this long-term sport because of her mother, Andrea. Andrea was a gymnast when she was younger and wanted her children to be athletic like her. She therefore decided to start all five children in different sports. Gymnastics was the first sport Chesca gave a whack at, and she became very passionate very early on. She stuck with it, and became an extremely talented gymnast.
Even though gymnastics is an extremely important branch of Chesca’s life, school is still her number one priority. She went to a public school in Prior Lake, Minnesota all through elementary and middle school. She began devoting more time to her sport, and when high school started, she took up online schooling. “Online school requires a lot of self-discipline. You have to motivate yourself to get your work done.” She prefers online school because it is more flexible with her cluttered schedule, even though she has to push herself to accomplish her assignments.
Much of Chesca’s time is also consumed with working and attending church. In August of 2013, she began working at Edelweiss Bakery in Prior Lake. Her job is her second priority. Many new friends had been made through her first official job. In addition to working, with her busy life, she still makes time to practice religion. Chesca is Baptist Christian. She told me about her mission trip to the Ukraine in the summer of 2013. Not only was this trip a fun experience, but she learned a lot as well and enjoyed having the opportunity to help those in need.
Traveling is also a common activity in the life of a committed gymnast. Chesca told me about all the states she’s traveled to for competitions. She’s visited states of the Midwest, Florida, California, and Arizona. The only place out of country she’s been was the Ukraine for church. Franchesca explained to me how blessed she considers herself to get the opportunities to travel so much, especially with her team. She takes nothing for granted and appreciates all the effort put in to her, and her teammates, success.
Gymnastics is undoubtedly an intense sport filled with tough competition and stressful performances. Chesca is a level nine gymnast whose favorite, and best, event is beam. I have been to one meet of hers, and remember seeing the beauty of her long figure fly through the air....