Friday, August 5, 2016

Ode to the Olympics: Once upon a time I did professional gymnast things for a grade

A few weeks ago I got a call from Laura one night after 10 p.m. There was a lot of noise in the background. She said, "Do you remember doing full on gymnastics in junior high?"

I did. I do. But until that phone call, I hadn't thought about it in years and I certainly never thought that it might have been out of the ordinary. Laura's husband Chris and his boys, all North Jersey-ites, didn't believe her. Hence the rowdy noise in the background and the need for the validation call. It's good to have long-time friends who remember things that you can't or who you can call and ask if such and such really happened. As we talked, we realized maybe not everyone did this in junior high...

And as odd as it sounds in the context of the world we live in today, this full blown gymnastics period certainly happened in our junior high gym classes. When I say full blown, I mean uneven bars, vault, pommel horse, rings, parallel bars, beam, floor, etc. We were surely privileged to have all of that equipment in three junior highs in the school district. Everyone's name was on a chart and the more difficult things you picked and executed, the more points you got.

I do not walk gently in this world. I am a Tuesday's child not full of physical grace. But once upon a time, I did a cartwheel off of a balance beam and executed a dismount from the uneven bars. I did not win a medal but I didn't break my ass or die from fear either. I consider that a win. I'm sure I wasn't alone in that - out of every gym period there were probably one to three people with any skill and the rest of us were like newborn colts trying to find their legs and balance.

We all discussed it this past weekend at Kim's shower and were laughing and crowing about things we did. We were in junior high from September 1989 - June 1992. Everyone participated. Everyone competed. There were injuries. We laughed at each other. We survived. No one got sued.

Can you imagine this taking place today? If you are around my age (39), did you do this in your school?

Fellow Neshaminy grads, do you remember this? My brother, six years younger than me, didn't have this curriculum. Laura's brother, three years younger, did. I'm curious when it began and when it ended. Do we owe this to having Joel Baba, an alternate to the 1952 Olympics team, on staff?


 photo purple_zpse5f7f916.png

29 comments:

  1. I'm sure you had a very elegant dismount too!! So fun that you have those memories to look back on! xo, Biana -BlovedBoston

    ReplyDelete
  2. Such a great memory.. My 7 year old step daughter switches every year between ballet and gymnastics. She's doing gymnastics this Fall and is so excited! Happy Friday!

    ReplyDelete
  3. We definitely didn't have that level of gymnastics equipment at my school! That's pretty cool that you did, though. I distinctly remember a square-dancing unit in my jr high PE class!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'm gonna have to ask my dad if he did this, he went to neshaminy. I feel as though I remember him talking about it..
    I had gymnastics in elementary school (up til 6th grade). we didnt have quite the level you did though and now I'm wondering if they even still do it.

    ReplyDelete
  5. As you were describing your gymnastics experience, I couldn't help but to replay parts of Pretty in Pink, especially the scenes that took place in the gymnasium where the girls were doing gymnastics, in my head. As a kid, I was fascinated by this concept - that a school, a public school, could offer gymnastics!

    No, as you've probably already guessed, my junior high PE class didn't offer ay instruction on gymnastics, nor did my freshman PE class once I got to high school. Side note: I would've loved to have seen either of my junior high PE teachers attempt to demonstrate any gymnastics move! All they did was sit high on the stage like it was a throne and bark orders at us peasants below. We were taught units on flag football, basketball, whiffleball (in lieu of baseball), soccer, broom hockey, bowling, warball/dodgeball, and the dreaded/despised square dancing. UGH! Don't even get me started on square dancing. I swear that experience scarred me for life!

    I can't imagine, in today's sue-happy world, any public school offering gymnastics for the basic fear of being sued. If dodgeball and RedRover are outlawed, then I can't imagine them going for gymnastics.

    Interesting read! Have a great weekend!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I remember doing the iron cross! Wtf... Also, the uneven bars! Hahahah yeah that went well

    ReplyDelete
  7. I loved gymnastics class. The shit I learned from that class helped me with climbing trees, scaling fences, ect... Basically all my teenage adventures of frolicking in the woods and trespassing into buildings or grounds I was not allowed in/on.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I loved gymnastics class. The shit I learned from that class helped me with climbing trees, scaling fences, ect... Basically all my teenage adventures of frolicking in the woods and trespassing into buildings or grounds I was not allowed in/on.

    ReplyDelete
  9. You also took gymnastics at the Joel Baba's.
    I had that gym curriculum, too. We had to climb the dreaded rope. I almost pulled my arms out of their sockets doing the rings. Ridiculous. And the horrid red one piece gym suits. I did take gym as a major my junior year with all the jock girls and had a marvelous time. They got a real kick out of me ! Thanks for the memory evoking blog! Goddess speed to all the Olympians. How nice the men's basketball team can reside on a luxury yacht instead of the sub-par living conditions. The yacht is floating in majorly polluted waters. Happy Friday.
    Love. Your. Momma.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Ha - this was awesome! We did have that equipment in my junior high school, and I remember a girl named Jenny who rocked it all. And could do that hold yourself up on the bar for minutes when I fell with a thud. That stupid hold was the only reason I didn't get the Presidential Physical Fitness award - remember that? My favorite line of today . . . "I do not walk gently in this world!" I don't know why that just cracked me up. Maybe because I get it!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I had gymnastics and I thought so this is how I die.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I can't imagine a few gym teachers watching over a room full of students in a sport where injury is bound to happen! That's so funny. I didn't have anything like this, but my cousins went to gymnastics and I liked to tag along. But I was only ever good at jumping on the trampoline. I never even did a cartwheel right.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I was in junior high in the early 80's--82 - 84 (and only two years as I was a transitional class from the Junior high to Middle school). I don't remember doing full-on gymnastics, but I remember doing vaults and we had a giant trampoline.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I remember full on gymnastics in gym class too - so much fun! I'm sad to think it doesn't happen anymore. So nostalgic! And pumped for the opening ceremonies tonight :-D

    ReplyDelete
  15. I"m 43. No full-on gymnastics for me, although I have vague memories of ropes and rings with Coach Roach in the 4th grade. But that could all be in my head.

    ReplyDelete
  16. This is too funny. I did gymnastics as a kid but not in school!! I think that would have been so fun!
    I actually called my brother last night to confirm a moment from our childhood to my mom and dad and the little turd couldn't remember. Ugh! I'm glad you could back your friend's story! Haha!

    ReplyDelete
  17. I love the visual of you rocking all that gymnastic equipment!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Gymnastics is never anything that we did in school. I actually remember doing nothing in gym. Truly. Just walking laps.
    Its probably a good thing - I'm sure I would have come out with something broken, sprain or torn.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I know we had a balance beam in our gym in both elementary and middle school and I remember having to pass some test on it that required a routine of sorts. I know we didn't have uneven bars or anything though. Just that damn pull up bar in other set of tests we had to pass. And the rope climb. Damn ropes.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Memories! I had to do this in High School - just like you - full routines. The fear - the sense of accomplishment when you lived! The vault that was placed just a few feet from a wall - Run - jump - grunt - land - SPLAT. A shoulder roll on the parallel bars "I'm gonna fall through - I'm gonna fall through... holy shit I'm still up here"

    ReplyDelete
  21. We did not have gymnastics at my junior high. I'm kind of glad we didn't... I just imagine it would go down like my Red Rover experience. Did you ever play that game? Red Rover, Red Rover, send ___fill in a name____ over. I got sent over and I was clotheslined, which was embarrassing, but not as embarrassing as wearing white pants that were now all dirty. That was the last time I wore pants in school EVER.
    xoxo
    www.mrsaokaworkinprogress.com

    ReplyDelete
  22. I AM SO JEALOUS. As I've mentioned before I am a nut for Olympic gymnastics, and as a current yogi, former cheerleader, and former ballet dancer, I think I must have been a gymnast in a former life. Or maybe I will be in my next life and this is my preparation for it. Anyway, I would have LOVED to do that in school. Maybe I would have actually gone to gym class once in a while if I could have had a go on the uneven bars or the beam!

    ReplyDelete
  23. That's so crazy that they had all of that equipment at your school! I've always thought that gymnasts were so cool and wished that I could be one, but I can't even do a cartwheel! I guess I'll just stick to watching it!

    ReplyDelete
  24. this is so awesome! i can't even do a regular cartwheel let alone anything on a balance beam. heck, i can't even balance on a balance beam. lol. this is really awesome you all had such an awesome opportunity and had fun with it, even if you were more like newborn colts. i can definitely see everyone being sued in this day and age if they tried that. crazy!

    ReplyDelete
  25. This is so inspiring! I love the post:)

    www.irenethayer.com

    ReplyDelete
  26. No, we did not have full blown gymnastics equipment. I remember a pommel horse and parallel bars in elementary school. My junior high p.e. experience was mostly track and field type events. Just like you hadn't thought about it until prompted by your friend's call, I haven't thought about this memory in YEARS until just now: in 7th grade, on my very first attempt at a triple jump, I tripped and literally landed face first in the sand pit. I was spitting sand for hours. Awww, memories...

    ReplyDelete
  27. My high school had gymnastics... my junior high had tumbling. LOL I did gymnastics quite a bit growing up but was never very good. Too much fear of falling on my head I guess. Also... Too tall. Definitely too tall. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  28. This is fantastic. I cannot believe you had all that gymnastics equipment at your school! And used it! All we had at good old Archbishop Wood from 2002-2006 were some kickballs tht had seen better decades and Richard Simmons VHS tapes, which were wheeled out into the gym on the ancient AV cart and we start sweatin' to the oldies.

    ReplyDelete
  29. WE did it! My mom had broken her leg on the balance beam when she was in junior high, so she only let me on the low one when it was my turn, but in 7th grade, I was a whiz on the uneven bars! Then, by 8th grade, I was too tall for them and my gymnastics dreams were crushed.

    ReplyDelete

Tell me what you think, leave a comment! I'll reply to you via email if you have an email associated with yourself, otherwise, check back here for my reply. Thank you and good day. I SAID GOOD DAY.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Blogging tips
Pin It button on image hover