Senior Courtney Helmick Balances Gymnastics Along with Many Other Activities


By Marina Williams

Running to her car late in the afternoon, 18-year-old Courtney Helmick is ready to begin her third activity of the day. She swings her marching band bag into the back seat of her car, checking again for her gymnastics bag. She sets off to the gym, trying to make practice on time. The only thing on her mind is how she also has to close for her job at Fazoli’s tonight. She rests her head on the wheel before walking into her gymnastics practice, she knows it’s going to be a long night.

Gymnastics and band have always been a huge part of Helmick’s life, doing gymnastics since second grade, concert band since sixth grade and marching band since ninth. Helmick can’t think of anywhere she would rather be.

“It was really hard at first, but once I learned time management and developed a routine, it wasn’t nearly as bad,” Helmick said.

After seeing her older sister do gymnastics, she started gymnastics at just seven years old and fell in love with the sport, not knowing at the time that the gym would soon become her second home.

“I was the annoying little sister who wanted to be just like her older sister,” Helmick said. “So, when Emily did gymnastics, I wanted to. I didn’t know how much I would love the sport or how big of an impact it would have on my life until I tried it.”

Her sister, Emily Helmick, had always been a huge role model to her. So when her sister took up band, it was impossible for Helmick to pass up another opportunity to be just like her older sister.

“I originally started band because of Emily,” Helmick said.  “But I also wanted to be involved in a high school sport, and that’s really all I knew how to do.”

Of course, such demanding activities come with their own pros and cons.

“I really like performing, which I do in both band and gymnastics. I really like the little successes along the way in gymnastics,” Helmick said. “And I really like being a part of something so much bigger than myself, which is what marching band is all about, but the physical demand in gymnastics is really rough on my body, and the time commitment in marching band gets rough, but I can manage.”

A week in Helmick’s life can be described as tiring, hectic, busy and long. She sets aside 19 hours a week for gymnastics and 15 hours a week for marching band, not including football games and competitions. She also goes to school, works at Fazoli’s, is involved in many school clubs and is very involved in her church and family.

“It’s all about time management and prioritizing,” Helmick said. “I haven’t watched a Netflix series since the beginning of August.”

Helmick has made many friends along her journey through gymnastics and marching band. Jenna Brown, her friend since kindergarten, and someone who has done both gymnastics and band with Helmick, has nothing but good things to say about her.

“She’s very kind and trustworthy, and she is always ready to help you with anything you need,” Brown said. “She manages her time really well and makes time for her friends and family.”