I don’t know about you, but Halloween has always kind of freaked me out. Blood and gore, graveyards, actors in gorilla suits chasing me through corn mazes—not really how I want to live my life.
In honor of holidays that make me wish I were braver, here’s a sampling of…
Top Five Gymnastics Fears:
1. Straddling the beam. I don’t care what level you are; nobody wants to be part of that show. I remember a particularly magical moment when I wound up under the beam, groaning.
“What’d you do?” my coach asked, looking down at me as I lay dying.
“A straight jump.” I was in Level 9.
She walked away.
2. Random unusual acts in competition. These include, but are certainly not limited to: running into the table, missing the low bar on a transition, falling onto your coach (sorry, guys), and flying off of the floor. The latter is no mere out of bounds. This is the equivalent of performing an additional tumbling pass, except on the ground and rolling.
3. Getting injured. An obvious one. So a gymnast does whatever she must to get in the zone and maintain her focus. The springboard has to be straightened that half of a millimeter to the left. The sting mat must be forward—no, not that close—okay, back a little—to get in the proper spot. And there’s the classic conversation:
“Can you stand there, just in case?”
“I’m not doing anything—”
“I know. Just be there.”
4. Being so afraid of a skill that you can’t get it back. Sadly, there’s nothing funny about this one. However, in desperate situations, it prompts coaching creativity. The gymnast refuses to do her back handspring on beam without a spot and requires a ten-minute wait between attempts, and she’s about to compete? Okay, try a dive cartwheel. (Other gymnasts on the team: “Wait, that’s a real thing?”)
5. Falling short of expectations. Goes for every walk of life, doesn’t it? Parents, coaches, teammates: they’re all putting themselves out there for you, and, frankly, bombing out never feels good. However, before you get too depressed, let’s channel Brad Pitt circa 1999 in Fight Club: “It’s only after you’ve lost everything that you’re free to do anything.”
After all, there’s something beautiful in failing spectacularly: falling off of beam five times, missing your flight series, wobbling on every jump, and going over time, landed firmly on your rump on the dismount. Because really, can you do any worse? Once you’ve bottomed out, the only place to go is up.
Article: Diana Gallagher
Other ‘Flipside’ columns by Diana Gallagher;
How to deal: Five ways to forge through the months ahead- READ
The Getting There- READ
Squad A- READ
If I Can Make One- READ
The Survivalist’s Guide to Compulsories- READ
Join in the conversation on Facebook on The Couch Gymnast’s News Page.
Join the TCG Twitter