Archive for September 10th, 2007


I was at a friend’s Sunday, and she happened to have some gymnastics on the television. I’ve always found gymnastics fascinating. How can they do those things? I can barely do a push up, on my knees… yet these people are capable of lifting their entire bodies on to their hands, do flips, pull themselves up on rings or bars… it amazes me.

I dreamed of being able to do the most simple gymnastics when I was young – spent hours in the yard attempting cartwheels or flips. My cartwheels were pathetic. (Definitely not as impressive if your legs are not straight.) My flips always ended the same way – with me flat on my back, all the wind knocked out of me.

We did have a gymnastics component of our physical education (PE) class. I grew up in a very small town, and went to a very small school. There were a total of eight girls in my PE class. We didn’t have real gymnastics equipment. We used portable scaffolding for pull ups. One day, our coach knelt on all fours to act as a pummel horse. (I’m sure this would be fodder for a lawsuit if it happened today.) He wanted us to run toward him, and planting our hands in his lower back, do a flip over him. He assured us it’d be easy with the additional height of his back. None of us volunteered to go first.

He lured us with the enticement of extra credit. I bit. I was always eager for extra credit in PE. I hated to blow my “A” average because of lousy PE grades. I ran toward him, planted my hands in his lower back – and flipped over, landing on my back, all the wind knocked out of me. None of the other girls would try it.

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