Tuesday, June 14, 2011


I was a little anxious about going to my gymnastic class for the first time. Although the class description said, "no experience necessary," I was concerned that it would actually be full of semi-pro athletes who would do back handsprings while I fell off the balance beam. I was the first person to show up for the class, and it didn't help matters when the second person to arrive heaved a big sigh and said, "I can't believe I'm old enough to qualify for the adult class now!"

It was at that point I noticed I had put my shorts on inside out.
Me, practicing the jumps.

After I fixed my shorts, I met everyone else in the class, which was made up of 12 white women and one black man, who had just graduated from the University of Wisconsin where he ran track. He was in fantastic shape, and graduated to doing backflips in about 15 minutes despite having no previous gymnastics experience. I kept waiting for him to get too warm and take his shirt off. Hopefully next time.

Most of the other participants had either a moderate amount of gymnastics experience, or none at all. The exception was one tall, stunning woman who looked a lot like Julia Roberts and immediately started doing back walkovers. I think the rest of us in the class are going to get together and key her car.

We started off with a combination of jumps and stretches on the floor. Did you know that a gymnastics floor is extremely bouncy? It's almost got some trampoline-like qualities. I don't mean to nit pick, but isn't that cheating a little? No WONDER those gymnasts can do back triple-half gainer twist front handsprings! The floor is bouncy!

Next we moved to the bars. The first skill to master is actually getting onto the bar, which you have to do by kicking your legs up and over so that you do a back somersault over the bar. Not surprisingly, I can't do this. But you really can't go on to the next step until you master this one, so I repeatedly tried to get up on the bar, dozens of times. And I'm happy to say that by the end of class, all that hard work had paid off and...I still couldn't get up on the bar. But I had improved! By probably one or even two percent!

I'm a little more familiar with
this type of bar
I also got what I found out is called a "rip." This is when you swing on the bar for a while and the friction causes a previously formed callous to tear off your palm, leaving a bloody spot underneath. I'm thinking I will wrap my hand in an Ace bandage to protect the sensitive spot, and when people ask what happened, I could just mumble something about it being no big deal, I just incurred a little GYMNASTICS-RELATED INJURY, ON THE BARS NO LESS. Not that I'm proud of it or anything.

It's now the morning after gymnastics class, and I'm definitely sore. Mostly in my back and triceps. But I learned a lot, got a great workout, and I'm already looking forward to next week's class. I'm going to take a little different approach next time, though, based on my experience this week. For starters, I'm going to wear my shorts right side out.

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