Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Long before pilates was SWCS gymnastics

SWCS Gymnastics
Originally uploaded by Brite light photos.
JAMESTOWN, N.Y. - I've never been much on stretching, though every doctor I've ever had tells me I should. And each day now, I have to do some stretching to get the muscles around my recently repaired knee working right.

Probably time for yoga or pilates.

In high school, the stretchers were in gymnastics, another athletic endeavor at which I had mixed success. I never had the flexibility to stand with the crowd in this photo, though I enjoyed some of the things: the rings, the parallel bars and, of course, the trampolines.

My problem was when I would try to do a flip, I would lose sense of where I was and never completed the manuever properly.

Years later, I came to find out that my inner ear - like many people's - simply can't re-adjust quickly, like in a flip or barrel roll in an airplane. (There's a long story about how I know that.) I could have practiced flips on the trampoline for years and still not gotten a decent one off.

The strength part of gymnastics was good for me, helping a lot with the wrestling and just plain self-confidence. When I was running (until the great Twist-and-Shout knee blowout) I would sometimes stop along the exercise trail and jump on the parallel bars and 'walk' across them, just like we did in high school as part of our drills.

This photo also points out that women, even in 1966, tended to be more limber than men. I didn't count today, but it looks like a 2-1 ratio.

My daughter did gymnastics for awhile growing up and now her daughter - at eight - is about to start, though the California gymnastic's clubs are thinly veiled hot houses for serious competition. Every mom and dad wants their daughter to go to the Olympics.


I'd still like to get a trampoline for the backyard - Costco sells them for less than $200. But I can't get the image of several of our classmates flying loose off the trampolines in the gym, even with spotters standing by, supposedly to keep them safe.

I don't remember any serious injuries, but I did fly my off myself once, landing safely on Bob Fulcher and a couple of other guys who landed on the floor in a heap with me.

No broken bones, just seriously wounded pride.

And I also remember that I drew a caution from Mrs. Berg (on the right hand side of photo):


She didn't have to tell me again.