Unless you spend a great deal of time in a gym, you don’t understand everything that goes into creating gymnast. Gymnastics is more than four routines, high scores, and podiums. In fact, if an athlete wants to get shiny new bling and their chance to salute the audience from the podium, they need to put in work, and lots of it. While some boys and girls will take to gymnastics naturally, others will struggle, but never give up. They don’t get the best scores, are very rarely on the podium, but they work as hard, sometimes harder than the powerhouses on the team. This blog is a salute to those gymnasts.
Hard Workers with Low Scores
One of the most frustrating parts about watching the hungry gymnast in the gym and then at meets is that this gymnast doesn’t always get the best scores. In fact, this athlete probably gets low scores. At least when compared with her teammates. The difference with the eager, hungry gymnast is he or she doesn’t care. She isn’t going to pout, cry, or stomp off the floor when things don’t go their way.
Instead, she’s going to hug her teammates, smile at her mom and dad in the crowd, and be back next week to put even more work in at the gym. She or he does gymnastics because they love it. They know, their parents know, and their coaches know they are never going to be an Olympian or even qualify for a gymnastics’ college scholarship, but that’s not why they do this. Parents, coaches, and teammates can all learn something from these gymnasts, and identifying them is easy when you follow the clues below.
Truly Love Gymnastics
It’s easy to tell the gymnasts that truly love gymnastics. Their book bags, t-shirts, shorts, and even bedroom walls declare their love of the sport, and their social media pages echo their passion. Since gymnastics is demanding; physically and mentally, there has to be a love for the sport for the athlete to be able to continue. When an athlete doesn’t get their opportunity on the podium, or are surrounded by teammates way above them, it’s their love that gets them through each practice, each conditioning session, and each meet. Without a love of gymnastics, this athlete would struggle, and their emotional well-being would likely suffer as well.
Sisterhood of the Chalk
I love seeing girls gather around the chalk bucket or hold hands on the podium. Not only are they socializing, but they are bonding. No one understands the coaches, other teammates, and the process it takes to get ready to compete better than your teammates. In fact, there is something very special about the sisterhood of the chalk.
Gymnasts Don’t Cheat at Conditioning
There is nothing more frustrating than watching someone cheat at conditioning. Everyone is susceptible to this, but the hungry athlete, the one that desperately wants their chance to get on the podium and show their coaches what they’re made of never cheats at conditioning. Conditioning is a requirement of gymnastics. When an athlete cheats at conditioning, they’re only cheating themselves. The strongest and best athletes even do conditioning after practice, on vacation, and when the gym is closed for a break because they are dedicated to the sport and realize the importance of conditioning.
An Eager Gymnasts Doesn’t Sit at Practice
It’s hot, they’re tired, and maybe their ankle is sore, but the avid gymnast never sits at practice. Some gymnasts will take advantage of any opportunity to sit, but then there are those that will fight through anything to make sure they don’t miss a moment of practice. These are the gymnasts you want to keep your eye on because they are going to do big things someday.
Bars with Rips
If you have ever seen a gymnast’s rip from bars, you know it’s not a fun sight. It’s usually raggedy, sometimes bloody, and hurts. When some girls rip their hand or hands, they’re done on the bars. Sometimes, they will refuse to get back on the uneven bars until the rip has healed completely. However, the hungry gymnast will slap some tape on that baby and keep going.
Always Trying their Best
Another great way to identify this gymnast is that they are always trying. Even when the rest of the team has conquered a skill or two, this gymnast is still working. She doesn’t get frustrated, and she keeps going. At practice, she always has a smile on her face and her mind on gymnastics. At meets, she puts every ounce of everything she’s learned into each and every routine, and she smiles at the end – no matter what the judges have to say.
Gymnastics is tough, no one who has ever competed in the sport will tell you differently, but there is no room for complaining in gymnastics. The girls who usually complain don’t make it very far into the sport because there is just no room in the gym for whiners. The gymnasts that suck it up at every practice are the ones that are truly dedicated to the sport.
The next time you see a gymnast who works hard, loves the sport, and her teammates, but doesn’t get to shine in front of the crowd on the podium, don’t feel bad for her. She is proud of her participant ribbon, she will put in as many hours as the AA champ on her team, and she may even work harder. She knows she isn’t going to get great scores, she knows she isn’t going to be an Olympian, she knows hard work can beat talent when talent doesn’t work hard, but she loves gymnastics, and that is why she is there.
Photo Credit: Jordyn Wieber by WhoAndWhom