Friday, October 15, 2010


Nadia Comaneci...Mary Lou Retton...Shawn of these things is not like the of these things does not belong...go ahead take a guess which one.

Okay, well you didn't have to guess it so quickly..Geez!

When I was in elementary school I wanted to be in the Stardust Tumblers soooooo bad.  I begged and begged and begged Mr. Vogt (the coach) to let me join and he told me he only wanted kids that wouldn't quit when they got to junior high to play sports. I PROMISED him I would never do that and he let me in.  I was average at best, but I felt like one of the cool kids so I didn't care.

Oh, then I got to junior high and I quit. (sorry Mr. Vogt)

Jump ahead many years later to college. I was a health and phys. ed major so naturally there were many different activity classes that were required. One of which was.....(drum roll please)....gymnastics!

Now you need a visual here to appreciate this story. I was a college basketball player, 6'0 tall.  Not exactly the body of a gymnast.

A friend of mine , Steve, who was a football player and 6'5 280lbs., also needed to take this class.  We were quite the pair.  I remember the instructor looking at us on the first day of class and just shaking his head.

What the hell did he know anyway. I had a secret that he knew nothing about. I had been a Stardust Tumbler back in the day!

Turns out, this was not as helpful as I was hoping.

Both Steve and I figured, how tough could this class be?  We'd stretch out, do a few cartwheels and frog stands and waltz out of there with an 'A'. Well whatdayaknow (spelling/grammar nazis just move on)...we were mistaken.

The instructor (who was about 80 yrs. old) hands out the class syllabus.  This guy was insane...INSANE I tell you.  This class required us to become proficient in each of the 7 events. We would be required to perform a routine on each apparatus to pass the course. That is right..I would have to create and execute a routine on the floor, balance beam, uneven bars, vault, horse, parallel bars and the rings!

For Christ's sake, this guy thought we were training for the Olympics. He evidently didn't get the memo that his class was just required for us to get one step closer to our dream job.

For me, that would be teaching in a high school that had little more than 4 bases and a few balls to create a physical education course with.  If I had to watch one more game of kickball or dodgeball I may have slit my wrists. (but I digress)

Back to this class.

As Steve and I stand there in our sweatpants and t-shirts we look around at our classmates.

All of them were 5' nothing and weighed 105lbs. soaking wet. (I think drool was seeping from the corners of Steve's mouth)  Something told me these girls had been around a balance beam or two before. I could hardly wait to get started. (that's sarcasm in case you were wondering)

The first routine we worked on was the floor exercise.  We were given a list of about 10 moves we were to incorporate into our routine.  As we practiced, the instructor was getting frustrated with me.

Instructor:  Tonya, you are NOT completing the routine within the floor's dimensions.  You need to finish ALL of the movements before you reach the end of the mat!

Me:  Hey look Bela Karolyi...I'm 6'0 tall with long ass arms and legs.  I am going to land a little further down the mat then the rest of these little cheerleaders....DEAL with it!

Then we move on to the other exercises.  Next....the Rings!

Seriously...when Steve stepped up to the rings and he was flat footed with his arms bent while hanging on to them I thought I would pee my pants!

Oh yeah, come on big boy let's see ya hoist your ass off the ground...without caving in the roof!

Bela didn't find it as amusing as I did.

The rest of the course went about the same way.  The little chickies flipping and twirling and prancing around to the instructor''s praises, and Steve and I laughing our asses off at each other while the instructor scoffed and sneered at us.

Whatever, old man.

We FINALLY get to the LAST day.  I have stumbled through each apparatus, but have completed each routine with a passing mark...thank freakin' God!

I am on the uneven bars, performing my LAST routine. I swing and twirl and THEN....WHAM!  I hit the floor!

During my twirl, the little piggy that went to market and the one that stayed home, decided to do the splits on the bar! I lost my balance fell to the floor and hit my head.

Damn...that was graceful!

My foot is throbbing.  I look down at my toes and they look like they are broken or dislocated.  It hurts like a son-of-a-bitch and I'm pretty sure I was cussing like a sailor at this point.

THEN Bela looks at me and says: "Well, you haven't completed the routine.  You'll need to either finish or I will have to give you an incomplete for the course. Then you will need to come back next semester to complete the course."

Are you FUCKING kidding me? I have been tortured throughout this entire course.  I have done EVERYTHING that has been asked of me (even if it WAS pathetic) and now you are threatening to give me an incomplete because of an injury on my final routine?

What I WANTED to do is get up and punch that old man in the face, but I figured that would ensure a failing grade, so instead, I got my sorry ass back on that bar!

I twirled and turned and cussed my way through the rest of the routine.  Then something unbelievable happened.  It was like all that hard work throughout the last 9 weeks had finally paid off.  I finished with an amazing, flawless dismount and stuck the landing...TaDa...just like Kerri Strug!  Bela came over and hugged me and then lifted me into his arms and carried me off the floor.

Shut Up. That's what happened.

YOU weren't there.


  1. Tonya, how's it going. Even though we've chatted a few times on Twitter, this is actually my first opportunity to visit your blog.

    I'm coming to you live from Cleveland. And I'll try to visit more often, as I need to network more with my Twitter friends.

    P.S. In college, I had the biggest crush on Shannon Miller, the Olympic Gymnast. LOL. I actually wrote to her twice. She was very nice and sent me autographed pictures each time!

    Craig at The Constant Complainer
    @ComplaintMan on Twitter

    Have a great weekend!

  2. Meredith - Since you know me, you can imagine how graceful I!

    Craig - Thanks for stopping by..hope you come back to visit. I too need to network more with my new Twitter friends! That's too funny about Shannon Miller...I can't believe she sent you TWO autographed!