Monday, July 30, 2012

Tuck you

Me and my sisters all used to take gymnastics. It was helpful that there was more than one of us, because we coached each other a lot, and that probably helped cut down on how much real coaching we needed. We took constructive criticism to a whole new level. "Okay that sucked, when you do it this time, square your shoulders halfway through that rotation." "Do it again, and this time move like you're aiming to land on your feet." In retrospect, maybe some of our critiques were completely unhelpful except that they pushed us to try over and over to get closer to perfect.

One by one, we all kind of grew out of gymnastics. If you get good, they keep pushing you to take more lessons, to compete on a team, and aren't that good at listening when you say you can't pay for it. Plus, I got told flat-out that my height didn't make me a good contender for the sport long-term. Danielle had no interest in being critiqued all the time by coaches, and Alex's heart was in dance even though she had talent in both.

By the time Josh and I got together, gymnastics was in the past. So tonight when we were watching the Olympics and saw a sloppy flip by a girl who was practicing and Danielle was like, "Oh even I could do that better," Josh rolled his eyes. The more we critiqued them, the more confused Josh looked.

Finally Alex called him out. "You think we don't know? You think we couldn't do it better? We can." Shit. I haven't done gymnastics in years. I actually am not positive I can do it better. I glare at Alex to shut up. Josh thinks this is so funny that he throws down.

"I am going to come up with a gymnastics thing. If all three of you do it perfectly to my eye, then I'll make dinner every night this week." Shit, really? Well for that, I'll find a way to do whatever it is better. Muscle memory is a real thing, right?

Josh first came up with some routine he looked up online. Danielle took one look and told him to buy us uneven parallel bars and we'd be happy to do that. After poking around a little longer Josh decided we should do a round-off, back handspring, back tuck.  I have done this before, but not in like five years or something.

We went into the hallway to practice. Then we came back inside to drag cushions off the sofa to put on the floor, because a back tuck is a blind landing and that floor is hard. Then we realized what we were about to do, and put the cushions back, cleaned the hallway floor, and brought the cushions out again.

Two hours later, each of us could get it right (go in a straight line land on our feet) about three out of four times. Danielle was concerned - she felt that in order to have enough power to control her landing, she was skimming the ceiling a couple of times. The only other option though, was to go outside and do it on the sidewalk.  It was time to finish practicing, so we took away our impromptu crash mats. A guy opened his door and stood watching us, drinking a beer. When we discussed the ceiling factor he agreed with Danielle. "You girls are gonna put a foot through that ceiling!"

Doing this on the sidewalk though, it was scary. If you crack your head on concrete you can't just ice it and pop back from that. We agreed we'd do only one warmup outside and then have Josh watch us. Spotting made me less nervous - at least this eliminated the worry of falling backwards.

Danielle was right though - I hadn't realized how much I'd been scrunching down to avoid the ceiling until we went outside. Josh tried to complain that there was less light outside and he wouldn't be able to see well enough to judge, but I argued that was too bad. The neighbor with the beer had followed us outside and we found out he didn't understand what we were doing when he tried to put $30 down on the "short, poppy one." The doorman stuck his head out to watch.

Turns out me and my sisters do really well under pressure. Did we have pointed toes? Not really. But Josh didn't really know what he was looking for, and we weren't going to tell him. We all landed on our feet without hops and did well, despite a blind landing. As we walked inside the doorman implored, "This isn't a new nightly thing for you girls right? My heart can't take it." We assured him we were finished.

I am really looking forward to coming home each night after work this week!


Lil'Sis said...

YAY!! I love this! Telling my kids how I used to do gymnastics they were rolling their eyes, unlike you I just pulled out some pictures, but it was cool to see them being impressed by dear old mom:)

OTRgirl said...

What a great story! I love that you three pulled together to make it happen and kept problem solving as you went. Your post's title is brilliant.

Enjoy your dinners!

Abby said...

This is 100% pure awesome. *happy sigh*

Anonymous said...

Wonderful. Great story.