Beebe performs remarkable balancing act
Wheaton, 12/15/12--Oak Park River Forest's Isabel Beebe competes on the bars. Wheaton Warrenville South High School hosted girls gymnastics competition, Illinois Best Invitational, featuring nine schools. | Jon Langham~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 21, 2013 2:38PM
WHEATON — Watch a great gymnast in action and you cannot overlook athleticism, flexibility, grace and talent.
Talk to one and you’ll quickly learn that mental toughness might be as important of an attribute.
Oak Park-River Forest sophomore Isabel Beebe is not only persevering and succeeding in the gym, but she’s helping elementary kids overcome educational challenges by volunteering as a tutor.
“One of my friend’s mom works at a school and asked if we’d be interested in doing this,” Beebe said. “I can’t do as much now with gymnastics, but I’ve really enjoyed tutoring them.”
Personally, she hasn’t needed a great deal of tutoring in the gym. Beebe first took up gymnastics when she was just 2 years old. She competed on the club circuit all the way through eighth grade, before joining the Oak Park-River Forest team last year.
“I had such an awesome time joining the team last year,” she said. “I really couldn’t wait to come back this year.”
Beebe represented the Huskies during the Illinois Best at Wheaton Warrenville South on Saturday. Teams selected one all-arounder to compete for their respective school and Beebe earned the nod for the Huskies.
“She’s an absolute sweetheart who always has a smile on her face,” Huskies coach Kris Wright said. “She came through as our all-arounder and is a great team member.”
Gymnastics has been Beebe’s only real competitive sport, although she dabbled with volleyball for a while. Now, her focus is set on gymnastics where she aims to clean up her routines while challenging herself by adding new skills.
“It’s such an awesome and satisfying sport,” Beebe said. “You can add new skills which help build you as a person and then it makes you more brave. It’s definitely a mental sport.”
Beebe’s top score in the Illinois Best was an 8.325 on vault. She finished with an all-around of 31.075 but feels that all her scores will climb into the New Year.
“I’m just trying to do my personal best,” she said. “Obviously we want to win as a team, but we really can only do what we can do ourselves. I’m just trying to not worry about what other people are doing and have a good time.”
The floor exercise is by far Beebe’s favorite event but she welcomes the challenge on beam, which is an event that continues to test her mental toughness.
“Floor has always been a lot of fun,” she said. “On beam, I have to work new skills through my brain first, especially because when you fall it throws off everything. It’s literally a balancing act in your brain.”
As for balancing overall, Beebe appears to be able to manage her own studies, gymnastics and volunteering. Not only is she showing her mental toughness, but a big heart as well.