When DD was a toddler and kindergartner, she was horribly, cripplingly shy. The one thing she loved to do on the playground was the monkey bars, but any time another kid got on the playground, she's stand on the sidelines, just watching and waiting for them to leave, because she was too anxious about being on the equipment with other kids. Her anxiety then made her a target for bullies. I read a book which recommended building on your child's strengths to overcome social anxiety, and so I signed her up for recreational gymnastics hoping it would help. She was ID'd by her rec coach as having potential for team, but even the pre-team coach told me that she was concerned my DD would be too shy to perform at meets. I told her I would handle it (which I did, by telling then 7-yo DD that I didn't care how she performed her routines, the most important thing to me was that she was there for her teammates to cheer them on) and now that DD is an 11-yo L6, she tells me that she will not quit gymnastics until she gets injured. I was not expecting this. Going into it 6 years ago, I honestly thought we would be done after L4 at the most. As a L4 last season, she placed between 1st and 7th AA at each meet, but to me, that's beside the point. She's an entirely different kid now, one who has gone from being victimized by playground bullies to one who stands up to them, not just for herself, but for other kids. Her peers respect her because of her athleticism and physical strength. I have seen how my daughter's self-confidence has skyrocketed thanks to this sport, and I cannot bring myself to take that away from her, even if her baby brother and I both genuinely miss her while she trains 4 1/2 hours a day, four days a week. DD says she wants to go on and compete in college, not because she needs a scholarship (we have a college fund for her and are fortunate enough to have enough to send her to any university of her choice in the US) but because she says she wants to coach one day, and she knows she builds gymnastics cred and has a better choice of landing a coaching position she wants if she competes successfully herself. Do I wish she had different life goals? Yeah, kinda. Her father and I are both academics who would never have thought we'd be raising a jock. But it's not my life to live. It's hers. Gymnastics is her passion. I'm going to let her pursue it as long as she wants to.