11 August 2009

Gymnastics (Re-posted)

Life with Joseph and his two big siblings is sailing along happily and uneventfully, meaning there is a lack of blog fodder for the time being. I am glad you didn't mind me re-posting one of my older posts last time.

Tinsenpup was kind enough to suggest I re-post her favourite piece of Killing A Fly which happens to be a sadly true account of my 2-year high school gymnastics career. When you start 2 years before retirement age, you can't expect much longevity in a sport.

I originally posted this during the 2008 Olympics as I was once again baffled by the level of achievement such young competitors achieve in such a difficult sport. I saw myself how I was able to improve and achieve quite quickly at gymnastics, but I realised how professional gymnasts must start in their sport so early and be so single-mindedly dedicated to training to perform to Olympic standards.

Added the next day: Initially I put out a call for a better way to end the post. We have a winner, so I will amend the ending and you can just be confused about the comments suggesting alternative last lines.

Olympic Sports that Baffle Me - Gymnastics
4 September 2008

I had a go at gymnastics in high school. I started gymnastics at the age of 15 which is about 2 years from retirement in the gymnastics world. It's also about twice the age of the gymnasts winning medals at the Olympics, so obviously, I approached the sport all wrong.

My favourite apparatus was the floor, working on the theory that you can't fall off a floor. I found though that you can sprain your ankle pretty badly and spend a week on crutches.

My concern with the asymmetric bars is that you could wind yourself or fall from a height and do untold damage. But the worst I remember from the A-bars was getting a wedgie in competition and being unable to retrieve the lost lycra until the end of the routine.

Retrieving wayward lycra results in a deduction of points in competition, and it is a measure of my [lack of] professionalism that my policy was always to forgo those points and get my butt cheeks out of public view ASAP. Anyway, it was my fault for forgetting to hairspray my cheeks before squeezing into those leotards. (And that's an awful lot of hairspray, in my case.)

The beam was the most terrifying apparatus for me. You can do a pretty serious injury to yourself on a beam, but even though I was scared silly, I never fell too badly. I wouldn't have much to report about this apparatus except that my sister remembers that once in competition, I fell and then I was deducted a further 0.5 because I swore. Well wouldn't you?

You might be able to hurt yourself on the other apparatus, but I believe that you can kill yourself on the vault. And since studies show that people fear public embarrassment more than death, I can say that my scary vault memory was even worse than that.

My run-up went wrong (as usual) and I baulked at the last minute. I sailed over the stupid vault head-first horizontally and landed on my tummy on the crash mat. My body, obeying Newton's first law of motion, kept sailing forwards while my lycra leotard, bothered by its own frictional coefficient, remained where it first made contact with the rubbery surface of the mat. And the physicists wrote a new law involving Collective Attention being drawn to the Point of Exposed Breasts.

Or something.


The Accidental Housewife said...

I reckon lose the last line all together - "or something" is not a bad way to finish!

Wow, you were fiercely unfortunate that the leotard would rather be attached to the mat than to you!

Givinya De Elba said...

That's a great idea - and so simple. Much better.

Sassy Britches said...

"So, that's when I reached up and pulled the lycra INTO my crack, and swore for good measure."

Givinya De Elba said...

Oh Sass, you always 'crack' me up!!!

Tracy P. said...

I was thinking the same as the A.H. But I like SB's too.

So hairspray makes the lycra stick, huh? Whoda thunk? I am so glad there are no stories to be told about any gymnastics career I might have had. Oh, would I have been a disaster!!! But I always wished I could be so graceful.

Crazy Sister said...

I love this post. And you were always awesome at the beach with the running and flipping routine!

Joce said...

Keep up with the re-posting, it's great! And would you believe, but I re-tried the monkey bars recently... now I remember why I had "semi-permanent palm blisters"!!
Still, I didn't have to attempt it in lycra :)

tinsenpup said...

Ha! Thank you. You just describe that whole undignified episode (and you know we've all had them) so, so beautifully. 15 was such an awful age, wasn't it?