This story was a good thing for me to write because I felt like I could relate with Priyanka. She has a pretty cool story and I just hope I was able to communicate it to others well.
Also, I got some cool pictures so that was fun.
Junior gymnast Priyanka Bhuta was forced into her sport when she began in her youth.
“It wasn’t my decision, because of my parents,” Bhuta said. “I’m an only child so they always wanted me to do several extracurricular activities, so I wouldn’t feel alone I guess. They made me do karate and a bunch of other stuff and gymnastics was just one of the things that they made me try.”
Now Bhuta is glad for the experience, although she wasn’t at the time.
“I wasn’t really interested in sports when I was younger. I guess I never really found myself to be athletic enough to do it,” Bhuta said. “[My parents] ended up realizing I didn’t like it so they took me out of it. When I came to highschool, I really didn’t do much besides schoolwork, so I wanted to do something else… I was familiar with [gymnastics] so I decided it try it again and I ended up really, really, really liking it.”
Bhuta is undergoing her second year on the team, motivated by more than just her free time to join.
“My cousin was on the team as well and she graduated last year,” Bhuta said. “She’s the one that kind of forced me to restart so I’m glad she did that.”
Bhuta’s cousin not only affected her team membership, but also her specialty event.
“She specialized in beam as well, so I kind of wanted for follow her footsteps,” Bhuta said. Gymnastics coach Michael King has been working on multiple different things with Priyanka for her beam routine as well as her faith in herself.
“She’s been working on her handstand, she has improved on her round-off. Her jumps she has improved on. [I want] her to improve her handstand, to improve her turns, which upgrades her routine,” King said. “To be honest, for her to actually get out and do a beam routine is a huge deal because this time last year she would have been petrified.”
With her renewed interests, Bhuta is dedicated to her sport. Encouragement from King helps her keep going as well.
“It’s not much of what he says; it’s just his presence, just him being there. I guess he’s just like a fatherly figure… He’s always motivated me and all the other girls on the team have been doing it for several years now so in comparison to them, I’ve always been weaker and he’s just stuck by my side through it all,” Bhuta said. “Sometimes I feel really bad and like I shouldn’t be on the team because they’re a whole lot better, but then in a way, it motivates me to get to their level.”
King has witnessed and been impressed with Bhuta’s diligence.
“Her skills are very basic, and she knows that. However, she has chosen to better herself and be persistent at learning as much as she can,” King said. “She’s probably learning more life skills here than gymnastics…it’s easy to quit when you’re not better than somebody else but she chose not to, and she’s developed friendships on the team, she’s developed some leadership. Kids look at her and think ‘Priyanka, she can only do this, but she’s out here working hard’.”
Now, gymnastics has become a regular part of Bhuta’s life.
“Gymnastics is basically a part of my routine now. Even when seasons off, I try to go to the gym and stay in shape. It’s just in my schedule like, ‘Oh I have to make time for it.’ It’s not like that, it’s really natural,” Bhuta said.
Not only does the workout come naturally, but it is also refreshing for Bhuta.
“It really cleans your mind. When you’re doing anything in gymnastics, you’re really focused, and that focus doesn’t just help you in the sport, but it helps you in every other thing that you do in life,” Bhuta said.
Bhuta’s motivation, though, all comes down to passion.
“There isn’t a hardest thing,” Bhuta said. “If you love a sport, then you will do anything to be on the team.”