I had been thirteen for 6 days and was slow dancing with a dark haired boy at Jessica Bond’s birthday party (Jessica, *high five!* I hope you’re out there) the first weekend of eighth grade in late August. There were two ways I described myself to that Obsession-cologned boy whose hands were awkwardly holding my lower back while we swayed to “Weak” by SWV in Jessica’s backyard.
He said, “So, tell me about yourself.”
I said, “Well, I’m a gymnast. And I’m a Christian.”
Yes, friends. In that order.
So in honor of my eighth grade self whose teeth had not even been deemed worthy of the braces that would forever change her life. In honor of her large mouth and big eyebrows. In honor of her calloused hands and those three-hour practices four times a week. In honor of the late night dinners my mother reheated for me at 8 pm when I got home from practice. In honor of all those competitions in places like Big Spring and Midland and Lubbock and (rarely) Dallas. In honor of that sweet girl slow dancing with the handsome-smelling boy who of course would have described herself first as a gymnast, who never made it past level 7 but still can’t let go of the Olympic dream (because no girl ever should), I will tell you I love Olympic Women’s Gymnastics.
There is a rule in my home. It is this: If you are married to me, you will watch the Olympics and care about every skill and scoring issue, every wobble and leg separation. You will cheer when I cheer and get teary when I get teary…BECAUSE YOU LOVE ME. You will also never mention the fact that eating pizza and ice cream while watching the Olympics might add difficulty to my possible future status as an Olympian.
And if you’re not married to me, which, hopefully, most of you aren’t, you are welcome to sit with me and watch the girls compete. But understand this: I am very serious. And in my own small way, I understand the sweetness of a tumbling pass when everything clicks and your body flies or the fear and joy of rotating all the way around a bar. And you can make fun of me for saying that because it’s really cheesy.
To make up for my cheesiness, I’ll make fun of Tim Dagget and Elfie and that guy Al that no one’s ever heard of but who keeps showing up every four years to say ridiculous things about skills he doesn’t understand and is obsessed with “tears.”
But, there are some things that are sacred. So, tread carefully.
Also, Gabbyyyyyyyyy!!! So much love for you! Gabby is why I’m declaring today Gymnastics-Love Friday.