Today we are featuring Inklings Book Contest 2022 finalist Gia Shah. Gia finished 3rd grade this past school year and wrote a story called “I Got This.” Gia said that the element she likes best is that her story “encourages young gymnasts to practice and always believe in themselves.” Enjoy!


By Gia Shah

I rushed into the kitchen where my mom was cooking my favorite dish, mac and cheese.  

“Mom, Mom!” I yelled.

“Yes I will be right there,” Mom said coming out from the pantry holding a package of macaroni. 

“You will never believe what is going to happen at school.”

“What?” she asked.

“There is a gymnastics camp in the summer and all of my friends are going.” 

I was super excited because my mom and dad couldn’t afford any camps, and if I got accepted on a scholarship then I could go for free, and they would be really proud of me.

My name is Emma and I love gymnastics. I am really athletic! I am ten years old and have long black hair, and my favorite dish is mac and cheese. I am double-jointed and love to do a lot of gymnastic moves. The first one is a backbend because it makes everything upside down. I also love to do a handstand because it makes me feel like I am floating in the air. The third one is I love to do a pullover because it makes me feel like I am flipping in the sky.

“Oh, well do you want to try out for a scholarship to go to gymnastics camp?” Mom asked.

“Yes, yes, yes please!” I said,  super excited. I couldn’t wait until I got signed up to go in the summer. It was going to be a BLAST.

Spring break came. When I woke up on a Saturday morning I had dressed early, and ran downstairs. 

“Emma,” Mom called, coming down the stairs carrying her cell phone. “Guess what! I signed you up for the tryouts for the gymnastics camp. There are gymnastics tryouts today. There are only two tryouts, and you have to pass at least one tryout to get into the yellow-level gymnastics class and earn a scholarship. Then you can go to the Gymazing Gymnastics camp. Are you in?”

“Sure! I’m always in!” I said as I jumped up from the couch and ran to my mom to give her a big hug.

I had a whole hour to practice gymnastics until the tryout started, so I decided to go outside and practice. I tied back my hair in a ponytail so I could see where I landed. I had a couple of falls practicing front flips on the trampoline.  Before I knew it, it was time to go to the tryouts! My mom drove us to Gymazing Gymnastics Gym. We walked to the front desk where the receptionist was directing kids to the tryouts. She said the tryouts would be near the bars. She asked for our email address, my name and age, and if I had ever taken gymnastics lessons before. Mom whispered, “Good Luck!” as I headed to the floor.  We headed to the area with the uneven bars. A sign said, “SHOES MUST BE REMOVED BEFORE ENTERING THE GYM FLOOR”  I took my shoes, set them inside a cubby. A gym coach wearing a red t-shirt and black pants greeted us. His name tag said Tom.

“I am going to test your skills today to see if you are ready for gymnastics yellow class,” Tom explained, and motioned me to follow him to the mats on the gym floor. I waved good-bye to Mom and headed there with Tom. The floor wasn’t that far away, but the gym floor seemed to be double the size of my house! 

“Emma, would you mind showing me your cartwheel?” Tom asked.

“Okay,” I replied, and did a perfect cartwheel, landing right side up, feeling confident.

“Great! Let’s move on to the balance beam,” Tom said, pointing to two tall posts, with about a four feet thick, tall brown looking thick long square stick that was laying across a long ramp. Tom asked me to walk across the balance beam, and I did that so easily, like a cat walking across the backyard fence.

“Now I want to take you over to the uneven bars,” he said.

“Sure,” I said, feeling a little nervous. As we headed to the bars, we had to pass through some gates that had short black bars lined up next to each other, and another long, black bar on the floor bracing the bottom bars. I think the gate was to keep visitors separated from the gymnasts in class. 

As we got to the gate, Tom asked, “Emma, tell me about the gym classes you have already had.”

I gulped. How could I tell him I hadn’t taken classes before? My parents couldn’t afford them. I had to learn the moves from my friend Crystal, on the soccer field during recess! I was wondering what to say, so I didn’t notice the floor bar on the gate as we passed through. I tripped on the bar and stubbed my toe.

“Ow!” I cried rubbing my foot.  

“Are you okay?” Tom asked.

“Yeah,” I said, trying to hold back my tears as I got up and limped toward the bars.

“Can you do a pullover?” asked Tom.

“Sure!” I said. I limped to the bar closest to me and did a pullover. But my toe still throbbed.

“Awesome!” said Tom. 

“Now, do you know how to do a back hip circle?” Tom asked.

“Well, what is that?” I gulped.

“It is basically the same thing as a pullover. You just start on the bar instead of starting on the mat, do one cast, then flip over” Tom explained.

“Um, sure,” I answered with my voice trembling. Then I got up on the bars, went into front support, did one cast, then did the flip. But instead of flipping over and staying on the bar, I flipped over and landed on the floor!

“Alright,” Tom replied, frowning as he wrote something down on his clipboard. “Thank you for coming today. I will email your mother the results.” As we drove home, I was curious about this. 

At home I washed my hands, put a bandaid on my stubbed toe, and went upstairs to take off my leotard and take a shower. I felt nervous about the gymnastic scores. I couldn’t help but keep on wondering. Would I get into the gymnastics camp or not? 

Later that night Mom told me the scores.

 I didn’t pass! 

I felt so down in the dumps.

“It will be okay. You just messed up on the back hip circle,” Mom said, trying to cheer me up.

“Maybe you could practice your back hip circle at Uline Park. It has bars there. Then you could take the tryouts over again,” Mom suggested.

“Alright,” I said, feeling heavy in my heart.

After dinner, I thought about the things Mom suggested I could do.  I decided I would go to the park after school and practice my back hip circle on the bars there. That night I looked on YOUtube and found a famous gymnast named Simone Biles demonstrating a back hip circle. 

“Ah ha!” I thought. “So that’s how you do it!” Simone made it look so easy. She didn’t fall off the bar, or hit her head on the bar, and she didn’t land on the floor. Instead she was perfectly balanced on the top of the bar.

“I will be the new Simone Biles one day!” I promised myself.

The next day after school I rode my bike to Uline Park. I locked my bike up and put my helmet on it.  Then, I ran to the bars on the playground. 

I jumped to “front support,” did three casts, then flipped. I hit my head on the bar!  I tripped and fell! It really hurt! 

 “Ow!” I cried and rode back home. It felt like the whole world was against me so I couldn’t practice and get into the yellow class.

“Mom I fell and hit my head!” I cried.

“I’ll get you an ice pack. You can go back to practice again tomorrow.”

The next afternoon I tried again. This time, I almost did the back hip circle, but slightly missed the part where I pull myself over the bar. At least I didn’t get hurt this time. I felt a little proud that I didn’t fall. I almost did it! All I need to do next is to pull myself over the bar and complete a back hip circle. My arms felt stiff and sore. But I knew I had to return and practice the next day. I could just picture myself at Gymazing Gymnastics on the bars doing a back hip circle and moving into the yellow class.

The next day after school again I went back to the park and went straight to the bars. I did a pullover… then three casts… and finally a FLIP.  I did it! A back hip circle! 

“Yes!” I shouted so loudly that almost everyone at the park looked at me. I didn’t care.  I was so proud that I biked home as fast as I could.

“Mom, I did a back hip circle at the park today!” I said, really excited.

“Oh, wow! I will schedule another tryout for tomorrow.

I smiled, dreaming about all the things that l could do if I got into the yellow gymnastics class.

The new tryout would be at 3:30 the following day. I rushed home from school and quickly ate a bag of Veggie Chips. It was already 2:30 and I didn’t want to be late.

Next, changed into my new neon pink sparkly leotard, then ran downstairs, and off we went to the tryouts again.  This time the receptionist didn’t ask many questions; just Mom’s phone number. She directed us again to the tryouts on the gym floor.  There was a different man, a taller man, definitely not Tom.

“Hello! My name is Braulio. Let’s go to the floor first,” he said, as he motioned me toward the gym mats. He had me do all kinds of moves like cartwheels, handstands and flips. Next, we went to the beam. 

Sure, I can do these, I told myself. At the bars he told me to do a pullover. I did it. 

Then… he asked me to do a back hip circle. I felt nervous, like a bee was about to sting me. Then I remembered YouTube.

I got this! I am Simone Biles and I can do a back hip circle. First, I have to do a pullover, three casts and flip. Then the back hip circle. 

 Slowly I got into position. I grabbed the bar, I took a deep breath. I did a pullover and then three casts, pushing my body off and back onto the bar, concentrating on the next move.

Next, I did a pullover. Then three casts and then …a super smooth FLIP.  

I did it!

“Wow! That was amazing,” Braulio said.

At home that afternoon Mom told me the scores. “You passed!”

“YES!!” I yelled,  super excited. I could go to the yellow-level gymnastics class! 

“To celebrate, I made your favorite dish, mac and cheese!” Mom announced.

As we ate dinner, I talked about all the fun things that would happen at the gymnastics yellow class in summer. We’d be doing flips, front and back handsprings, uneven bar moves, and “hanging around” with my friends all day long. Gymnastics is Gymazing!


Support the Inklings Book Contest Today!

Your support of the Inklings Book Contest helps us connect with youth writers and provide them with free learning opportunities throughout the contest – as they prepare, as they enter, and as they revise their work as winners and finalists.

Will you support the next generation of writers as they find their voices and make their mark on the world?