When I mention to anyone of my generation that I was a gymnast in my youth, I see their eyes glisten with stars and stripes. Mary Lou immediately comes to mind, and I immediately skyrocket in their estimation. Slightly below Jesus, Mary Lou is.  What they can’t fathom is that I was a particularly bad gymnast.  After all, how could anyone who spends 10 or so years devoted to something not be dazzling or at least smart enough to quit?  They apparently don’t know me very well. I should like to say that I “dabbled” in gymnastics. That would accurately reflect the results, but it sounds too whimsical and carefree. Instead I met gymnastics head-on, quite literally. There wasn’t an apparatus that I didn’t fall off with amazing consistency. And it’s not like you want to “just miss” the bar, beam or vault.  You want to hurl yourself completely clear of that bastard. So, I concentrated most of my time on the floor–harder to fall off, but turns out your head serves effectively in interrupting momentum. So does your coach. I still feel badly for kicking him in the jaw on that convulsive back flip.  Brings new meaning to “stick the landing.” So, while there are no tri-color ribbons or trophies cluttering up my garage, I do have shot ankles and some short term memory loss.  So, I’ve got that going for me.

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