Monday, September 17, 2012


Watching the '84 Olympics I was in love. In love with the pixie-cut tumbling queen Mary Lou Retton; and in turn, in love with this amazing thing called gymnastics. My mom indulged my new-found awe and enrolled me in my first gymnastics class. Though definitely not a protege of any sort, I was officially hooked. I spent the next 10 years taking classes to learn more. The clumsiness never left but neither did the addiction to the thrill of vaulting into the air or dancing on a beam. Later, I found my niche when I switched from tumbling myself to teaching others to do it. I found that while I had a hard time convincing my body to do the moves I saw in my head, helping someone else learn how to do it came much more naturally. I spent the next 6 years doing just that working as both a recreational and competitive coach. The job saw me through my late teen years and into my 20s. I even remember taking my crawling firstborn into the gym as my students swarmed around him swooning.

When we moved to Virginia, I never went back to coaching. It felt like a gaping hole until a little thing called photography found its way into that piece of my heart. 

But you want to know the worst part. I've never put any of my children into a gymnastics class and probably never will. For that matter, my kids have to beg me to even teach them how to do a cartwheel. Why? I have nothing but utter respect for the sport, but I also know the commitment and intensity it demands. Also, I walk around regularly having my 30-something year old body remind me of injuries I incurred two decades ago. My brother (who was a spectacular gymnast) and I lovingly refer to it as the "abusive boyfriend". It beats you up, but you just can't stop loving it. And finally, I have no doubt that I would be the kind of gym mom that I couldn't stand as a coach- far too opinionated and worried about how my child was being taught. 

And so far it's worked. My boys are content with soccer and basketball, and this fall it was Adriana's turn to break out into her own sport. Since the child dances around my house constantly, Steven and I decided it was time she learned how to do it properly. Excited doesn't begin to describe how she anticipated her first day ballet class, and she's loving it. And then there's Ava, who somersaults around any flat surface and is not deterred by falling over the couch she is trying to flip on. Who knows. Maybe my vow to stay out of gym of flips and bar routines won't be able to hold it's ground.

But for now, I'm loving watching a tiny little thing twirl her pink-clad self around a dance studio.

Her posing for me on her first day. I asked her to show me the moves she thought she might learn...


No comments:

Post a Comment

Don't be shy, share your thoughts!