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Putting that Backfield in Motion since 2003

Monday, August 21, 2006

Gymnastics: Not just for girls

I am so stoked about this Thursday. This Thursday, the Gavinator will begin gymanastics lessons at our local gym. He has a ton of energy to burn, crazy strength, and natural talent so I think gymnastics will be a great fit for the boy.

That said, I have run across a few people who are shocked that I enrolling my BOY in gymnastics. Maybe it is because I grew up in the 80's, during Mitch Gaylord's hayday (come one, admit it. You loved American Anthem, too) and I view gymnastics as being very much a manly sport but other people? Notsomuch. Perhaps it is just a South Carolina thing. Boys should be running around bases or catching footballs; not spending time in a gym learning the fundamentals of gymnastics. Never mind the fact that those fundamentals- strength, flexibility, and coordination- are integral to every aspect of athetics.

I called the gymanstics studio to enroll Gavin and they were all "what's HER name?" and I was all "HIS name is Gavin". Then I told some of my coworkers and other people I know that Gavin starts gymnastics this Thursday and they were all "how sweet that GRACE is starting gymnastics" and I was all "not Grace, GAVIN. GAVIN starts gymnastics" and they were all "What? Is the local karate studio full?" and "Wouldn't he prefer soccer?".

Gavin has already shown signs of mad gymnastics talent. He is super strong. His therapists attributed his freakish strength to his sensory issues- tensing up when we try to lie him on his back, for example- and he never gets dizzy. The kid can spin and spin and spin and never waver (again, a result of all his sensory stuff). Plus, in my opinion (and I am from Mary Lou Retton's home state so this carries a lot of weight), he shows innate talent. He can stand on his head, flip around a bar at the playground, hang forever and a day while swinging from a bar, do a somersault, and do splits. When we went to visit my nieces, they were performing all their gymnastics moves and the boy could totally do or at least try to do everything that they did and they have already had years of lessons. Plus, he wanted to do what they did.

Last night, NBC aired women's nationals gymnastics competition. Gavin was enthralled. He was all "WOW" and "WOAH" and "AWESOME" while watching the girls flip through the air. He was glued to the TV and during comercial breaks he would run across the house like he was doing the floor routine, stop, do a front somersault, and then stand up with his arms in the air. Grace caught onto the gymnastics fever and seconded her brother's yells of "WOW" and "WOAH". It was so cute.

When the husband came home from a long day of work, the gymnastics competition was still on and he got to see all of the boy's fervor for the sport. The husband also brought home a stack of magazines (side note: if you're a flyer and you think you are doing a favor by leaving your magazines on the airplane for the next flyer: don't bother. The magazines aren't left on the plane. They just wind up at my house where I get to catch up on all the celebrity gossip and fashinon trends FOR FREE.) Gavin immediately went crazy for one of the magazines. The pink one. An Oxygen Magazine. He was all "Pink one! Pink one!".

So we gave him the magazine and he took it into the living room where he sat with his legs crossed at the knees, thumbing through the pages of Oxygen, and watching women's gymnastics.

"See." This husband said. "This is what happens when you let the boy wear your bra.

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Blogger Judy said...

Amanda, I was just thinking about putting my own little G in gymnastics! We'll probably have to wait until spring, but we're going to do it too. Don't let anyone give you grief about it. They wouldn't harass you for putting Grace in karate or something.

So, what'll it be, the 2016 Olympics? ;)

9:29 AM  
Blogger karrie said...

Sounds totally appropriate to me, but I am one of those godless freaks from Massachusetts. ;)

I hope G1 has a blast!

2:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My 5yr. old BOY has done gymnastics for the past 2yrs. and loves it! Yeah, we get some weird looks when we talk about gymnastics and the heads turn all around looking for a little girl near me somewhere - nope just boys people. Haven't they ever heard of the Olympics?

5:47 PM  
Blogger Autumn said...

I just did this huge study in school last semester about gender stereotypes. Good for you for putting Gavin in gymnastics! I hope he has a great time :)

5:19 PM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

How funny. I was just running a technorati search, looking for that old andy taylor music video from American Anthem (sheesh...I admit I could recognize a bad movie when I see one, but still loved it, because it was of my sport), and found myself stumbling in here.

I was a minor UCLA gymnast late 80's/early 90's, a generation or two after Mitch Gaylord.

I must tell you, I am proud of you for putting "the Gavinator" in a sport that seems to suit him. Gymnastics has that stigma related to ballet and dance and figure-skating; I suppose, anything that requires artistry in physicality. Guys just aren't supposed to have physical artistic expression. Of course, even wrestlers sometimes are made fun of. But people shouldn't let stereotypes hold them back and going against the grain. Sometimes, that proves to take guts in itself.

I'd say literally only 1/10th of my teammates were gay, and half dated the girls on the women's gymnastics team. Many of our Saturday workouts had us with the gym TV on, watching our Bruin football team.

Pound for pound, gymnasts are among the strongest athletes in the world. This was me about 15 years ago; one of my roommates, Chainey, had arms twice as big. Neither of us ever were called "gay". People always wanted to know how gymnasts are able to get so strong without lifting weights.

Regardless of how far your son goes with the sport, it's a great foundation for any kid to have under his belt. He can go into football later on, and owe some of his athletic coordination to gymnastics (and don't forget, many football players who have taken ballet to help out their football game). Good luck to him!

7:15 PM  

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