Monday, October 1, 2007

Is Cartwheeling an Olympic Sport?

The school extracurriculars are starting. Sweet Pea had her first gymnastics class last week. She loves it! She has four coaches. She couldn't remember their names, but she said one coach was a girl and three were boys. Is this true? When I think of gymnastics, I think of leotards and Mary Lou Retton. I know that men compete in gymnastics too, but I thought that only happened in California. Gymnastics is a very physical and demanding sport. I just didn't think it was that popular with men in the Midwest. I'm glad to see that it is.

Sweet Pea said her coaches are all really nice. I even found out that one of her coaches is famous. SP said one of her coaches is that guy that says "Bam!" all the time.
"And he is always selling that soap on television."
"Do you mean 'Oxiclean'?", I ventured. "The guy who says Ka-boom?"
"Yeah, that's him.", she said.
Her coach does have a beard like the guy on TV. So I asked her, "Oh, I see, your coach looks like the guy on the Oxiclean commercials?"
She answered, "No, it is him. He has a beard and he shouts a lot."


While watching her practice, I could tell she was enjoying herself. There are about twenty girls and one boy in her class. They all split up into four stations of various gymnastics arts. This is SP's first gymnastics class. She has a little trouble with cartwheels, but she is working so hard. She's not afraid of falling down. When she attempts a cartwheel, she gets her little legs switching back and forth like an electric scissors. She buries her chin in her chest for extra speed and purses her lips in determination. She jumps, puts her hands down, kicks her legs up, twists, and slams her hip down to the mat like a professional wrestler. She then bounces back up to skip to the next station. I'm very proud of her. There are a few other girls who have more gymnastic experience, but Sweet Pea keeps trying and doesn't get upset or discouraged.

I was really impressed with her 'Oxiclean' coach too. He took many of the girls aside to give individual instruction. He helped SP a few times with her cartwheels. She showed some improvement too.

I'm happy that SP has this opportunity try something new. Our school district is fortunate to have the quality of athletic equipment it has. I saw five balance beams, two sets of uneven bars, a set of rings, a trampoline and loads of mats. And this is just in the junior high! My small town school had plenty of mats too, but they were for wrestling. And the only rings we had where class rings. When I was growing up, gymnastics was something you watched on television every four years. Not something ordinary people could master. Gymnastics is something new to me. I want to help SP but I have no idea how to coach cartwheels. I had better attend as many practices as I can, to figure out what my SP is doing. I don't want to yell out the wrong cheer. I also don't want to end up in traction while practicing with her at home. As hard as SP works, she will easily outpace my knowledge of tumbling.
I better start dusting off a place to put her gold medal for cartwheels.



Above Average Joe said...

Both my kids are taking gymnastics. The Champ loves it. Any excuse to run around. It wears them out, too, making for an easy bedtime.

pixie said...

Tell Sweepea he DOES look like that guy on the Oxiclean commercial! And who knows? It COULD be him!

DJ Kirkby said...

h so nice that SP is enjoying her sport. N3S has asked to to start football (soccer) classes! He has been to 2 so far and he is just so incredibly proud of himself that the expression on his face while he is in class makes me want to cry the whole time!

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I'm a 40 year old dad of two. My wonderful wife, Lady Di, and I try to keep the kids from blowing things up here in central Minnesota.