Scenes from Brestyans
This morning I headed over to Brestyans to see Aly Raisman’s triumphant return home.
Brestyan’s was packed, with a line snaking around the parking lot already. Mihai and Sylvia Brestyan bopped around the parking lot. Inside, lower level team kids were practicing. I didn’t see that much, mostly a bunch of handspring vault drills and a few half on half offs, plus a bunch of front tuck-RO-back layout passes on floor. The place was definitely humming with energy, though.
Outside, the media was swarming, pointing cameras and getting quotes from random people. The daycare across the street came out to watch. For some reason there was a pony. Sylvia went over at one point to dance with the kids. Gymnasts posed with Mihai for pictures, which he found amusing–he kept telling them that they could do pictures after practice!
Eventually, all of the Brestyan’s gymansts pulled on their Aly tee shirts and lined the street. Shortly thereafter a police car came peeling down, sirens blaring, followed by a fire truck. Poor Aly was mobbed by cameras as she tried to exit the cop car with cameras staring directly at her face. Then there were speeches, which to be honest I did not listen to eve n a little bit. There were a few people from judges associations etc, which whatever. Then Mihai came up to say a “few words” which turned out to be basically “welcome back, Aly. We are glad to see you. You have practice tomorrow at 6am.”
Apparently Mihai and Silvia gave Aly a good luck pair of earrings before the Games and they gave her a matching necklace; she then presented Silvia with matching jewelry, which was adorable. I am really fascinated by the relationship between athletes and coaches.
Anyway, the press was allowed to ask a few questions, and I made my way up. Most of the questions were the standard stuff and Aly answered in her usual way–it meant everything, it means so much to her, there are no words, etc. She was asked what she planned to do in her hometown of Needham and she just said “welll…I live there, so just what I always do…” I asked her about waiting for the tiebreaker results and she said that it was really stressful, much harder then actually competing because you have no control. I did tell her I was glad that the tiebreaker went her way once!
After that, the line for autographs began and I went home. I was so glad that I went. Aly for me was one of the real MVPs of these Games, and I am so happy for her that she got the welcome home she deserved.