Above: Me back in the flexibility years
I have decided to go back to the sport where constant flips, agonising blisters and concentrated training made me ill. Gymnastics was once part of me, training endless hours, working on fixed routines making sure that every part of my performance was perfect. Now I have an opportunity to get back into the gym. A group of musical theatre students at my university have organised a weekly session of gymnastics. When I heard about this, I couldn’t help myself and asked if I would be able to join.
It was a time in my life that was stressful, rewarding and grand. Stubborn to be number one, gymnastics for me was a way of focusing all of my energy into one thing. Although the memories are bitter sweet, the sport taught me a lot about myself and built me up to be a strong person inside and out. After miles of travelling to endless competitions, It was time to hang up the hand guards and hide the chalk and after claiming my final first gold at nationals, I went out on a high. At the age of eleven it was all too much and my body couldn’t handle it, instead of absorbing the workload my body rejected it and I began my first cycle of fits. The experience was petrifying because I didn’t know what a fit was back then, when my body was shaking and I couldn’t do anything about it; I felt out of control and scared.
All throughout school I found ways of adapting my gymnastic abilities into dance and annual talent shows, but if I’m honest it was never quite the same and I always missed the training and the pressure I put on myself when I was in the gym. If I were to set foot into a gym then I would have become more ill because I wouldn’t have been able to stop pushing myself in training, which would have caused further problems that I dare not think about. Now I realise that it’s not worth risking your health over something so trivial in the grand scheme of things.
The fits were never diagnosed, but since I have left the sport and the intense training I have not had a fit since (touch wood). I am going to participate in the classes for fun and not competitively. I enjoy flipping around and walking on my hands so it would be foolish of me not to partake in the activity. I am looking forward to getting back into the gym and seeing how much of it I can still remember and do after nine years of gymnastic neglect. Most importantly, it will be good way to exercise!
Wish me luck,