My gymnastics team is like an extended family to me.
We’ve got mum Emerald; the babies Chloe and Amy; Jade the Diva; Jenny and Ailsa, our godparents who worship all things gymnastics; Kim and Emma, our troops from the Braes; Lynsey, fellow coach, Zoe, the book of wisdom; quirky teen Morgan; top tumbler Lucy; Rachael the sensible; and, then there is the wonder that is me, Sophdawg, daft auntie who comes out with the most ridiculous things ever.
Oh, and there are coaches Normy and Rab. They go mental when we call them that, but they love us really.
See, as much as we irritate them, smack them in the face practicing tumbles, break their glasses and share responsible for many a lecture about “gym safety”, they still take us to nice fancy places, like Athens and Malta, to show off our so-called talent.
I say so-called. When we do what we’re supposed to, we can be pretty decent!
Take the past few weeks for example. Because we took three weeks off at the start of summer, we upped our training to six hours a week instead of the usual three. I reckon only a quarter of the group could do round-off backflips. Now almost all of us can do them.
And those longer hours have brought us so much closer, and infinity never used to be like that.
I remember when I was 12 (such an awkward time, not quite a teenager but too old for sweeties and stickers at the end of class) and I’d just got shifted up to the squad. There was a clear divide, and I’m not the first to say how intimidating that was. There were the older girls about 16 and 17, all excellent and experienced tumblers. And then there was us, who couldn’t land a handspring, let alone a flip summy.
Now, because we’ve been together so much, it’s great. That divide is now a thing of the past. It’s strange knowing I’m one of the “big ones”, so I guess I kind of feel it’s my responsibility to make sure younger ones feel involved.
I’m not going to lie, I love our little family. All we need now is a dog or something. (Hint: Robert, we want a mascot).