I was still 11 when I went to high school, but turned 12 less than two months later. Back then in South Africa schools were big on extracurricular activities, whether sports or debate or singing in a choir. I decided to try out for the school choir and got in, but then one day their was a notice of a gymnast club outside of school. I told my mom (who also did gymnastics as a child) that I wanted to do gymnastics too, but because this would take time away from my studies, I had to choose: choir or gymnastics.
Fun fact: the trainer was an older German lady, and when my mom learned her name, it turned out to have been her gymnastics teacher back in her school days. Her daughter was a record breaking swimmer back in those days.
Now back then you could work yourself through different ‘phases’, more or less like the different color belts you get in judo or karate. I can’t remember the names of the phases, but I made it through the first two and then my parents decided to move from Namibia (back then it was still South West Africa) to a city in South Africa, 3000 kilometers south.
There I joined the school gymnastics team, where a married couple became our trainers. They were fabulous and coached me through one of my best gymnastic years. I was chosen for the school team, competed in regionals, went through to provincials (where I won a bronze medal) and then went through to nationals.
The next year I fell pregnant…
The year after that (I was about to turn 17) I went to uni, studying to become a sports teacher. I joined the university gymnastics team and whenever I had a spare hour, I was in the gymnastics hall, practicing. I made it through to regionals and provincials again, not only in my first year, but also in the second.
In my second year I injured my wrists in a competition. After that, they constantly hurt, and for that I got an ointment to ease the occasional pain. Then I did something stupid… I participated in a competition and applied the ointment… and injured my wrists again because I didn’t listen to my body. With the next physical for my study I was disqualified. There was just no way I was going to be able to do the seven sports I had to do to become a sports teacher.
It was also the end of my gymnastics career. The only sports I did after that are fitness and hiking, but I never got as passionate about sports again after that, except when I can watch it on television.
I love the Olympics, and watch almost every sport I see there because I know what dedication it takes to get into the higher ranks. Hours and hours and hours of training. But, the Olympics are only ever four years, if you talk about the summer edition. I also follow the winter edition, and in between that my preferred sports to watch are speed skating and cycling.
And you know what’s the best of this all? Master T likes to watch the same sports I do! He’s just a bit less fanatic about watching gymnastics than I am!
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© Rebel’s Notes