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From One Gym to the Next

Teegan Saunders

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   Standing among several older gymnasts with an 8th place ribbon in hand, I felt on top of the world. I was only 11 at the time and had just gained a spot on my local gymnastics team after months of hard work and dedication. This had involved floor work, pummeling, rings, beams and my favorite, the bar. Each of these were physically strenuous but none made me feel as free as the bar did. Wrapping the tape around my hands and inhaling particles of chalk dust, I would place my hands onto the bar, lift myself up and just fly. I would move from a pullover into a single leg cut over the bar, then a squat on, moving into a cast to handstand. I would sprinkle in a few circling elements and then dismount, usually into a sole circle. It was routines like this that made gymnastics such an incredible sport, even though it took hours of commitment and preparation.

   Sadly, that first competition would be my last. I discovered soon after that gymnastics was dangerous and strenuous. I was doing floor work, just an average routine, when my knee gave out. My family has a history of weak knees and I was no exception. It was devastating to realize that I would never be able to compete in my beloved sport again.

My knee healed. Eventually I reached a point where it only ached in rainy or cold weather. I felt so out of the loop that I never went back to gymnastics. Still, I loved being able to just lose myself in the flow of a routine and even considered going back into tumbling in high school in hope of recapturing that feeling of freedom. That never panned out and I found myself without any outlet for my competitive nature and love of exercise.

I became bored and lethargic, spending most of my free time in bed or on the couch. I was a heathy teenage girl, and picking up a new sport should have been easy. Except I’ve always had this thing about being the best in what I do. I tried cross country and going to the gym but those didn’t work out. I spent most of high school in and out of different physical activities and finally found my niche in weight training. I liked having to compete only with myself and lifting weights was repetitive in a comforting way. I may not be able to go back to gymnastics but I’m happy I found a new way to spend my time.     

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From One Gym to the Next