Monday, December 16, 2013

FTT Off-Topic: Refusing To Fall

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Not (MLB, NBA or NFL) sports, read or whatever. You know the drill.

It was my turn to take the Eldest to her gymnastics meet today. If you've never been to one of these, it's less time than a dance recital, but more time than your average legal deposition, root canal or mortgage closing, because Louis CK's rule of "You Are Not Mine, I Don't Love You" is heavily in force. I get that my daughter loves her teammates and wants the full experience of having all of these other people in the building, but for the spectator, it's just hours of waiting, moments of terror, and all without poker chips. You can see how this is sort of a tough sell at times. (Which means I am, of course, still there with bells on, if only to grouse with the other parents about 50-50 drawings, the heat or chill of the gym, and other things Aging People Grouse About. Moving on.)

Adding to the fun this morning was several inches of glazing ice and snow, which meant a 6am wake up call to clear the area, then jump in the shower before trying to figure out the 90 minute jaunt to the northern reaches of the state. The Shooter Mom was going to join us on this one, but got waylaid by the ice (hit her area worse than mine), so I would up going solo... and since my eldest is prone to snoozing in the car, and I don't want her freaking out before a meet (you know, any more than Grandma's NOT COMING???), I was relying on printed out directions (useless) and my phone GPS (oddly useless). Combine this with salt trucks and plows hitting roads that did not need attention, and we wound up 10 minutes late, along with everyone else. (I hate being late. Especially when it reflects on my kid.)

Anyway, once we got there, all was as well as you might expect, and since this was her third event in a month, it's interesting to see how quickly the new becomes routine, while still firing her from head to toe with anxiety. Here's her scores from the three events.

Floor: 6.75 -- 7.4 (5.4) -- 6.9
Vault: 7.5  -- 8.0 -- 7.2
Bars: 5.1 -- 5.5 -- 5.6
Beam: 6.5 -- 7.3 -- 7.1
AA: 25.85 -- 26.2 -- 26.8

So today was, well, better in floor, bars and all-around, and reasonably consistent. The floor score on the second event was a matter of contention, as you might have guessed, but that's also a pretty common thing for these events. You'd think that scores would be all in a spreadsheet with a quickness by now, that wireless tech would make the need to hold up score paddles passe, or that you could give out ribbons and medals at the end of the event without taking longer than, well, the actual event. You might also guess that, given the amount of money involved in this sport, the Wifi at the gym would work and there would be a Web site with video and scores and team rankings and yada yada yada. And you'd be wrong, wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong, because there's nothing better than making the spectators who've felt their vertebrae slowly fuse on bad metal folding chairs for the past 3.5 hours need to be there for another 1.5 while you pass around enough ribbons to ensure Self Esteem For All. And then a Hokey Pokey Dance when you figure out the previous scores were all wrong, wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong. It's a joy. 

Anyhoo... my kid has qualified for the state championships, and will have three more events between now and the Super Bowl, one of which involves Atlantic City. I think she's still got a little room to score higher before that, while she thinks that she's capped by not being allowed to do harder stuff yet (that's what the levels are for). But if she put it all together and had a great event, I think she could kick it up around 28 before this meet season is over. And if that happens? Well, she'll have scored a 28. Let's not get crazy here. (Besides, college scholarships would require still liking this, and getting better at it, for the next 4 to 8 years. Asking a lot from anyone, let alone a kid.)

But what I really like about watching my kid perform is seeing her move and do this work, because her personality shines through it like a laser. Some kids bounce and are happy and joyous, especially the young ones. Others are adding in mildly salacious stuff that looks equal parts silly and sad, or have too-tense body language that screams out "I'm not confident that I'm going to avoid a soul-scarring mistake." My kid generally hits the floor like she's reading for "Kill Bill Jr." later that day, or that she's trying to project Steely Focus into her more beta teammates. 

I have concerns about my kids; so does every parent that's paying attention. But I don't worry about my eldest ever becoming a go-along girl. And just to prove the point... she actually started to slip and fall on balance beam today, but refused to take gravity for an answer, and wound up latching to the beam from underneath, like some kind of Gymnast Commando. All while this is happening, she's yelling to the judge. "I didn't hit the ground!" A lesser deduction for "Losing Grace" was applied, but I think the judge also gave her the little-known "I've Never Ever Seen, Or Heard, That Before" bonus to compensate...

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