Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Gymnastics... A Father's Curse

I am the father of 3 girls (insert: SPUDS joke on not putting the stem on the apple (totally ripped from Cosby!)).  So my dreams of watching my son(s) throw the game-winning pass in Super Bowl L have been all but shot.  I could look at it that if the little cells carrying Y-Chromosomes weren't even quick enough to make it to the egg in the first place then why should I think that they would even have made good football players anyway.  But I choose to not look at it that way.  They would have played and they would have been GREAT!

So... Where does that leave me?  I'm competitive by nature.  I love sports.  And I have NO PROBLEM living my dreams through my kids.  So one way or another, they were going to play something.  I'm the father and that's just the way it goes!  So what are my *ahem* daughters' choices? Well... The 2 youngest are too young to really have a say so we will have to focus on the 10-year old.

She doesn't particularly like kicking things.  So no soccer or martial arts.  She doesn't really like hitting things.  There goes softball, tennis and golf.  She can't swim very well.  That takes out... well... swimming.  She's not that fast of a runner.  So no track (or field... doesn't like throwing things either).  Just when we were about to give up, she turns a cartwheel in the yard and a STAR IS BORN!  Gymnastics it is.

Just to temporarily fast forward... My daughter is AWESOME at gymnastics!  She has improved over years.  I am amazed every time I see her doing anything on the bars and beam.  I am amazed about the other things too.  But the bars and beam make me excited and nervous at the same time.  In a recent event (that I missed because of an injury of my own (another post probably)) she received 2 gold medals and was 1 slip-up away from receiving a silver in the all-around.  So she's got skillz!  And no matter what she does out there I think she's great!  Therein lies the problem for fathers.

Rules of Baseball:  You pitch, I hit.  If I hit and no one catches, I run.  I hit it far enough, I keep running.  If I run all the way back home, I score.  If I do that more times than you, I WIN!

Rules of Basketball: I bounce the ball.  You try to take the ball.  If you miss, I keep bouncing.  If you try to take it again, I bounce it behind my back, between my legs, off your forehead and then bounce it some more.  Then when I'm done bouncing the ball, I shot it at a hoop.  If it goes in, I score.  If I do that more times than you, I WIN!

Rules of Football: Someone hikes me the ball.  I either throw it to someone or I hand it to someone.  We keep doing this pattern until someone stops us or we get to the other side of the field.  When we get to the other side of the field we try to cross the opponents goal line.  If we cross the goal line, we score.  If we score, we do a silly dance, jump into the stands with fans, reenact a scene from Shakespeare or just slam the ball down so you know we scored.  If we do more dances than you or more scenes of Romeo and Juliette than you, WE WIN!

Rules of Gymnastics: ???

That is not to say that there are no rules to Gymnastics.  That's to say that there is a clear-cut and very concise scoring system.  It's a fathers dream!  It's very technical (even down to the tenths, hundredths and thousandths of a point (that's 3 digits on the RIGHT side of the decimal (even money doesn't do that))).  It's logical (a standing back tuck means you from the standing position you do a back flip while tucking your legs in your body).  It flows in a predictable pattern (If I do this, that happens (If I fall, I lose this many points)).

But then... There's this seedy underbelly that they don't tell you about... The JUDGES!!!  I mean no offense to the judges in this sports (especially to those that might be judging my daughter's future performances).  I'm sure this is a tough job.  But I personally think this position was created just to curse fathers!  First off... What gives them the right to judge my daughter anyway? And you mean to tell me that I have to sit there and take it when this "judge" gets a headache halfway through the meet and starts to judge harder... and my daughter competes LAST.  I just have to suck it up when the judge looks away to write something or sneeze or daydream about whales when little-miss-crooked-cartwheel performs but is watching my daughter like a hawk ready to a pounce a field mouse.  That's where I lose it!  My daughter's routine was a 9.7 and YOUR critical analysis says "hmmm... 8.2."  Now it's not a sport any more... now IT'S PERSONAL!

I must end now.  Just thinking about it is making the curse come back.  And for the record, I can neither confirm nor deny anything that happened to the car of one of the judges at the last meet.  I didn't even know she drove a 2005 hunter green Honda Accord with 68,423 miles and a coffee stain under the floor mat on the rear passengers' side of the vehicle.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.