Thursday, November 10, 2011
The State of "Eh" Chapter 10
Chapter 10 - Clumsy McClumsington Pt1- Fear and the Pommel Horse
I am and have always been, a terribly clumsy person.
I feel like my mother had some foresight into this.
She enrolled me in dance classes by the time I was 4. Tap, ballet, everything.
I'm sure it was also partially because she had taught me to read at a very young age and now couldn't stop the talking, the questions,the general jibber fucking jabber that I was spewing.
She sent me to school at age 3 as well, but the dance classes gave her hours of more relief.
So, yes... the talking, but she did say "You have long limbs, you were just going to be tripping all over the place. You'd kill yourself."
Good work, mom.
She also enrolled me in gymnastics summer camp when I was 8. This was super cool and easy because I'm double jointed.
I flexed! I over extended! I was a human pretzel!
Contortionist, I thought.
I could join the circus! I don't even like the circus! Still, though!
What a good idea!
Look how good I am at floor work!
Coaches are amazed! Kids are jealous at all my moves! My ease into splits!
HAHA! I'M SO MUCH BETTER THAN YOU AL--- what do you mean do a cartwheel? I want to stay here on the floor. Backflip? What? Are you insane? I'll break my neck? ROUND-OFFS? THOSE ARE SATAN'S CARTWHEEL!!! THIS IS A DEATH CAMP!!!
I believe I actually yelled, "THOSE ARE SATAN'S CARTWHEELS!!! THIS IS A DEATH CAMP!!!" on the day that round-offs were put in our repertoire.
I was a great kid.
So, no. This gymnastics thing was not going to work for me.
I remember the day that they introduced the pommel horse. We were supposed to run, bounce off of that stupid spring board, jump up, pulling knees through and landing in that super cool dismount with the turn, arms up, crazy back flex that gymnasts do.
Love that dismount, "I deed eet" pose. LOVE. IT. I do it sometimes now. Still rules.
Lemme tell you, at 8 years of age, my first thought was, "fuck that pommel horse. I'm going to die."
I envisioned running (also not good at) jumping on the springboard, reaching up, somehow breaking my arms by grabbing the handles wrong, then getting my legs caught and going face smashing first into the mat on the other side, thus, breaking my neck and killing me instantly.
Seriously, I don't understand how these other damn 8 year olds, one by one in front of me, were ALL ABLE TO DO THIS SHIT.
Standing in a long line of about 20 of us, with every successful jump, I would step out of line and move one more person back.
I kept tapping everyone, "umm, did everyone do this already? I don't... how is everyone so good? This is beginners gymnastics. I don't... did I miss a day???"
They all said, "No." but I didn't believe them. Fucking liars. Or idiots. Only idiots would do that and only idiot adults would stand there and MAKE THEM DO IT.
Nope. Not the kid. No way. Uh uh. Not gonna happen. I faked an illness for the next week. Every single day. As soon as it was my turn.
"Owwww...Owww.... my stomach... I can't." or "Ohhh, ohh.. my hand. I think I sprained my wrist."
"You sprained your wrist right now?"
"Yeah, I was stretching back here really hard and doing wrist circles. To prepare...for... holding.. the.. handles."
"You don't have to do that."
"Yeah but my wrists weren't warmed up enough. They need to warm up."
"We warmed up for a half an hour."
"I don't really think that's enough for me. We should discuss extending the length of warm-ups. To reduce the chance of injuries. For the kids. We're just kids. Just. Kids. Delicate bones."
I think they were catching on.
I managed to escape the pommel horse death exercise, but couldn't escape the backflip/cartwheel/round-offs practicing.
I just really sucked at it. I would do them super slow so that they would have to move on to the next kids.
"We can't just focus on you all day."
"I know. Go help them. We're all important here. All of us."
The end of summer camp demonstration was what I both looked forward to and dreaded, simultaneously.
There was my own choreographed floor routine (cause I was awesome) but...
I had to do the pommel horse.
I visualized my death no less than 50 times the week before the event. No less than 50 MORE times the actual day of the event.
"Thank God we're near St. Vincents" I thought. "It still won't help. I'll be dead already."
Now first, let me tell you how effin AMAZING my floor routine was. I choreographed it myself. Picked my own music.
The Love Theme from St. Elmo's Fire.
Yeah, that's right. "Just For A Moment."
People clapped, my mom beamed. It was a kick ass moment. I was flexy all over that mat. Contorted in incredible ways to "oohs and "ahhs."
It was a great moment that I will always remember. To be followed by one of the worst moments that I will ever remember.
I was the first girl on the pommel horse, because we were going in skill order. Yeah, surprise. Me first. Shocker.
The last girl, by the way, had somehow learned to do a front flip over that motherfucker.
I think she was a russian spy... cause, fuck being able to do that in 3 weeks.
So here I am, fueled with my adorable mixture of 8 year old adrenaline and fear. Accomplishment and a mind full of visual impending doom. Standing at the line where I'm supposed to start running.
Standing. *coughs from the audience* Whatever.
Still standing there.
I wish they would shut up. They're about to feel so fucking stupid when they find out they were rushing a little girl to break her neck. I bet that'll stay with them for the rest of their lives. Guilt.
"Maybe if we hadn't cleared our throats she wouldn't have felt rushed and then she would have lived. Oh GOD, WHYYY!?!"
Good. Child killers.
Then something happened.
I got calm. I focused. I thought, no..
This one time. I can do it. I'm not going to die at all.
All I have to do is jump on the pommel horse and pull my legs through. That's it really.
I can DO THIS!
I'm going to be great. I will not be afraid.
Everything became quiet, and I could hear my blood pumping in my ears.
I was ready. I started running, smile on my face.
This is going to be awesome! They're all going to be so proud of me!
I ran, I ran my little legs right up to that springboard...
Now... I know, because I've done this a few times in my life and I'm pretty sure a lot of you have too.
Time can slow down sometimes.
Time slowed down a LOT, right in those last few steps before the springboard.
Oh my God. What am I doing?!?!?!? I'm going to kill myself. FOR WHAT? For The YMCA SUMMER CAMP!!!!?!?!? NO!
I screeched to a halt, and calmly, very calmly, walked my 8 year old self right around that pommel horse, hitting it with my right hand and shrieking, "HIYA!"
Then I walked around to the dismount mat and did the SHIT out of that dismount pose.
ARMS UP! FACE FORWARD! BACK FLEX! ARMS DOWN! Turn to audience. ARMS UP! FACE FORWARD! BACK FLEX! ARMS DOWN!
That was the most confused slow clap starting applause I've ever heard from an audience.
See, the thing is, it's a bunch of kids, so, no ones gonna BOO you. They were just really confused.
I jogged to the gym doors. I jogged down the hallway. I jogged down the stairs. I jogged right out that building across the street to my house.
I didn't even care that my mom was still in the audience.
I never went back to gymnastics camp... but I can still do a walkover split like nobody's business.
Fuck that pommel horse.