Things Only Gymnast’s Dads Understand

I will never forget the first gymnastics meet I ever went to: sparkly leos running around everywhere, different colored artificial roses to give to your gymnast, lines of gymnasts stretching, racks of GK leos being sold, the moms wearing team shirts to support their little one, different pins that state gymnastics levels, and of course- the excitement within the dads. Now you may think that it is always the moms that help out and understand their little gymnast, but surprisingly there are many dads out there that know more. I became involved with gymnasts by supporting my boyfriend’s younger sister, and with the help from her mother, Linda, we came up with a handful of things that only gymnastics dads understand!

Dads Understand the Terminology of the Skills

“It’s so funny when my husband tells me in detail what her skills should look like!” 

This is what Linda said after discussing with me the complicated names for some of these skills. For some reason, it just seems like dads know more about this subject for some crazy reason. Last week I was in the car talking to the gymnast I support, asking her what she learned that day during her practice. She was naming all of these funky things that sounded so foreign, I couldn’t even believe she knew how to pronounce them! After realizing that I did not know how to say them, she came up with funny words such as “your taco” to help me remember “yurchenko” and so on. The funny thing is- when her father asked her about practice, he was able to say the words with no problem and actually gave a description of the skill! I was in awe, but then again- a gym dad WOULD know.

Dads Understand How Important it is to Have the Perfect Bun or Perfect Meet Hair

“I see dads bringing in the hairspray and mousse or gel and doing their daughters hair in buns for practice. They do a better job than some of the moms!” 

Every gymnast will sit there and say “ouch!” and “Mom, stop!” when you try to do their hair. But let me ask you something- have you ever heard your gymnast yelp when their father does their hair? The gymnast I support always says that it feels like her mother is ripping her hair out, however; when her father does her hair- there is not a peep of noise or scrunchy expression across her face. In fact, she told me she likes it better when her father brushes her hair because he is more gentle!

Gym dads watch their little gymnast perform at meets and can’t help but smile because they see how elegant their little one is. Not only that, but you know that he is damn well proud of that hair-do he just did 10 minutes before!

Dads Understand NOT to Mimic Their Daughters

Have you ever seen that viral video of the dad who tries to copy everything his gymnast does? If not, you have to check it out! I was definitely impressed with the things he was able to do, but you also have to be careful to not get hurt! Being a gym dad, it is only normal for him to want to keep up with his little athlete and be able to do whatever she/he can do. Listen, gymnastics is not an easy sport and it takes A LOT of practice and dedication to be able to accomplish their skills, therefore hopping on a trampoline and attempting a back tuck is not a good idea! Though it may look easy, you have to keep in mind that they are flexible and much smaller than your average gym dad!

Dads Understand NOT to Challenge Their Gymnast to a Push-Up or Pull-Up Contest

“There was a fundraiser for a fallen police officer and the police officers challenged the team to pull-ups and the team was beating the officers. The police men fell one by one as the girls kept going, it was funny to watch!”

You got that right- gymnasts are literally the strongest human beings I have ever seen in my life! With all of the conditioning they do, they are in some serious shape. I wish I could do what these gymnasts can do; sometimes I wish the little gymnast I support could be my personal trainer! (Can you imagine a 10-year-old planning my workout routine? Ha ha). Anyways, gymnasts can do handstand push-ups, regular push-ups, one hand push-ups, and the same goes for pull-ups. I cannot do a pull-up to save my life, but I know a gymnast can do it without breaking a sweat. Of course being a dad- masculinity is a big part of being man. I have a tip for you though gym dad- don’t ever assume you can out-beat your little athlete! You will honestly be embarrassed if you challenge your gymnast because she/he will put you to shame!

Finally

Along with these things, there are many more things that only gymnast’s dads understand. Gym dads understand how important it is to be there for their little athlete and to support them through their gymnastics career. Gym dads understand that every open space is an opportunity for their little gymnast to do a front walkover followed by a one-handed roundoff. Gym dads also understand that dinners are spent in the car driving to practice every night, and that eating out on Saturday mornings for breakfast before practice is important- especially when it comes to spending that quality time together.

Always remember that a dad in general is going to be the first man to love your little gymnast unconditionally and forever. Gymnastics is not just a girl sport, and there are many ways that fathers can become involved with your little gymnast throughout her journey. Gym dads will always be the ones cheering louder than anyone else during a meet, and they undoubtedly are the only ones who will body paint their gymnast’s team name across their beer bellies- so next time give them some more credit!

Do have anything to add? Please feel free to add more to the list in the comment section below. We might add it to the article! Thank you!

About the Author

Cara Devenney

Cara Devenney is a journalism and communications graduate from The Reed College of Media at West Virginia University. Cara became involved with gymnastics from her boyfriend's younger sister, and has developed an interest in the sport due to watching her perform. Cara personally thinks that it is inspiring to watch how dedicated young gymnasts are, and hopes to share advice and experience with her viewers!

 

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