image of Olympic Rings

I Love Watching the Summer Olympics!

One of my favorite things to watch is Gymnastics.  Women’s?  Men’s?  It doesn’t matter.  I love it! I think it is crazy insane the way that they can be both strong and flexible at the same time!  Now, that’s not to dismiss the other amazing athletes in the world, this is just the sport that is my favorite to watch.

Why is gymnastics my favorite, you may ask?  Well, when I was a little girl, I fancied myself a gymnast for a while.   I didn’t make it to the Olympics, but I was pretty good if I say so, myself!

My Path to Gymnastics

When I was about 11 years old, my parents signed me up for swimming lessons–bear with me–at the local YMCA.  I think one of the main reasons I am afraid of swimming is because of those lessons.

The instructor put us all in the deep end and told us to tread water for 3 minutes.  I was a pretty new swimmer and could barely keep my head above water.  So, what do you do when you are having trouble swimming and feel like you’re drowning?  You make your way to the edge of the pool, right?  Well, I was punished for doing that and forced back out into the deep end for 5 more minutes!  What the Butt Monkeys (WTBM) kind of trauma is that for a kid?!

Anyway, I’m fairly certain that I told my parents I wasn’t going to continue taking swimming lessons.  I don’t really remember (that’s a blog for another time), but I didn’t have to go back.

As the fist generation (Gen X- In the house!) of mostly “Latchkey Kids” our parents were always trying to find one activity or another to get us involved so we wouldn’t be home alone all afternoon.  So, after the swimming debacle, they signed me up for gymnastics.

Some Things You Need to Know About Me to get an Accurate Picture…

  1. According to the DISC personality profile, I am currently, as a fully formed adult, a lovely combination of D & C types.  As a child, looking back, I’m fairly certain I was a C all the way to the bone!
    • Every morning, I would make up my bed and organize my stuffed animals.
    • All of my clothes hung in my closet facing the same direction and were organized according to what they were.  All pants together, skirts together, shirts, jackets…you get the idea.
    • Each year, I meticulously covered each of my school books with brown paper bags, carefully cut and folded, so that I could then write the title of the text book on the cover.
    • I actually loved to clean the refrigerator every month and make sure it was organized so everyone in the family could find what they needed.  All that to say, I like order…and still do.
  2. I like, and thrive, when I know what is expected of me.
  3. I love lists!  AND I love to check things off of my list as I go.

So, with those three bits of information you can get an idea of what gymnastics would look like for someone like me.

Give Me the Rules so I Can Follow Them

When the coach would give us instruction, I would follow.
It did not matter, in the least, that I had no idea what I was doing.

He told us to run as fast as we could toward the springboard, punch it, and jump as high as we could.

That is exactly what I did!

What he didn’t tell us was how to land.

That first jump, I knocked the wind out of myself because I landed with my knees locked!

My Sweet Baby Jesus!
If you’ve never had the wind knocked out of you, I don’t even know how to describe that sensation.

When the coach saw me struggling, he pulled me aside and was able to help me breathe again.  Let me tell you breathing is NOT overrated!

Now that he knew I was a Noob, he was a bit more careful to explain things to me better.

I Progressed Quickly…I Was a Natural (so he said).

Within just a couple of weeks I was already on the split-parallel-bars and the balance beam.  Within a couple of months I was doing flips and dismounts.  I don’t know if every kids progresses that fast, but I (still to this day) think that was pretty quick.

My coach suggested to my mom that some dance classes might increase my floor exercise abilities.  I was already doing all of the tumbling, but he wanted me to get some dance into my routines.

So, my mom signed me up for a ballet class.  I fell in love with ballet at that very first class and never went back to another gymnastics class!

That was the end of my gymnastics career.  As fast as it started it was over!

I Still Love Watching The Olympics

I can envision what it would have been like had I stayed with gymnastics.

Every time I see a gymnast tumble, punch-it, dismount, or fly through the air
I imagine that I had a shot at that and am grateful I had a chance.

 

 

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