Once a week Jasper, Grover and I go and climb into the equivalent of a big smelly sneaker. They get to run and jump and climb and tumble while I get to sit with fellow
idiots parents trying to solely mouth breath. This is known as ‘gymnastics’.
The gymnasium is a place with a smell not like any other, a complex blend of sweat, Impulse, foot odour and broken dreams. Some kid normally takes a dump in the toilets before heading in to swing on the bars so that malodorous treat adds to the whole experience.
The waiting area is the about two metres square and for some reason the collective IQ of parents believes we will all fit in this area in clunky green plastic chairs. What ensues is either being trapped, locked in on all sides by chairs with arms or legs over-lapping or constantly moving your legs so some parent and/or small child being
punished made to watch can get by. It’s a slow-burn to homicidal rage at gymnastics.
While we carry on like pigs in a pen, on the other side of the fence prances an abnormal quote of flexible children. I’ve seen a coach pushing a girl’s legs down to the ground at right.angles.to.her.hip.joints while the girl was lying on her back. Apart from a spontaneous urge to cry ‘paedo!’ coupled with a ‘thank GOD she hasn’t hit puberty yet’ and a quick foray into ‘so this is really why the Brazilian was invented’, I found the whole thing morbidly fascinating. Other girls were not as
freaky double-jointed easy flexible but that didn’t stop the sadistic leader from trying to push their legs in directions they are simply not designed to go.
Down the other end there were girls I am guessing were aged around 15 who seemed to be hanging from a very high bar by their chins. Behind them a girl was up a very thick, very scratchy thick piece of rope wearing little more than her underwear. The rash I imagine those girls must get from shimming up and down that rope in velour hot pants occupies way to much of my mind.
From what I can tell the outfit has equal importance to talent in gymnastics. 6 year olds in teeny tiny bra tops and velour hot pants are de rigueur. If that midriff isn’t showing you’re not trying hard enough. A sign of modesty are the girls in the leotards as opposed to the two piece. It appears compulsory for these outfits to contain a minimum percentage of flesh-tone fabric of 30 per cent. Sequins must occupy at least 50 and the more lurid the colour the better.
Gymnastics, where every cheap, nasty, highly flammable, made-in-a-sweatshop, rejected-by-ballet-school fabrics go to die.
We don’t see the boys squad training, they’re upstairs lifting each other over their heads and learning how to ride a pummel horse. Apparently it take years to master the horse, a skill I’m sure those boys will find handy in the boardroom. I have no idea about the rings. That just strikes me as complete and utter nonsense.
I did see a boy arrive this week wearing w.h.i.t.e. s.t.i.r.r.u.p pants WITH a seam up the front which I wish was the worst of it. Boy after boy arrived in, you guessed it, shorty shorts. Let’s all take a moment and pray for supportive and secure undergarments.
It’s like I’m trapped in a 70s German porn but without the body hair, the porn or the soundtrack.