The announcement of my Friday-night plans to go and see the GymDogs against Arkansas was met with smirks and chuckles by my buddies. Gymnastics? Are you serious? Yes, I replied. You have to go.
The GymDogs are an anomaly I can’t really explain. I have an inherent dislike for most women’s sports, partially fueled by the bottom line on ESPN because when I see that Georgia is now ranked at basketball, I get excited for a split-second until reality sets in and I realize it’s the Lady Dawgs. A vicious cycle.
(Before we get any further, let me just say that as great as our female athletes are, it’s just not my cup of tea. I like dunks. When Travis Leslie gets in the lane, I hold my breath in anticipation. Ashley Houts ain’t bringing the hammer down. And I have been to the Lady Dawgs — they’re great athletes. I just can’t get that excited.)
But the GymDogs are different. Perhaps it’s because they can do things I will never be able to do in a million years. (New video idea circa HORSE??) Or because I sit and watch while trying to pick my jaw up from the ground. Whatever it is, I’m always freakin’ pumped to go and watch them compete. On Friday, I was especially excited because my buddy Connor (Yeah, the trick-shot guy) got us VID seats and I was in the third row.
I went to Stegeman on a mission to come back with details so my friends would return my man card. Unfortunately, I was hit with a “Pink Out” including shirts, cups and pink pom-poms. Not off to a great start. Then Arkansas came out and people didn’t boo. The meet began and so did the contest for who can give out the most hugs. There is literally a wild celebration after every routine. Gina Nuccio fell on her vault attempt and she still got up smiling. At the end, Grace Taylor got on the microphone and actually thanked the fans for coming. (Side Note: Connor could not answer why the basketball team did not thank me for coming.)
So I didn’t return with much to offer in terms of manliness (which would be a rarity anyway). In fact, the severe lack of testosterone outlet at the meet carried over to the rest of my night, which was either awesome or horrible depending on whether you were my beer pong partner or opponent — but that’s a story for another time. I mean, I love boxing. Intense. Mean. Angry. But at Gymnastics, there wasn’t even an always classy, “You suck!” hurled at the GymBacks (Yes, it was extremely tempting to be that guy and no, I didn’t make that nickname up).
Don’t get me wrong. The meets are fiercly competitive. The outpour of love directed towards whoever just flung themselves in the air while spinning/flipping/smiling is all deserved because of the degree of difficulty surrounding every event. The mentality going into all of these routines is something I can’t even imagine. Especially when you consider that many of these ladies are at Olympic level i.e. they’re some of the best in the world. (Let that one swish around your brain for a second. The world.)
But I had to somehow convince them how awesome the GymDogs are. So I came up with this: at any athletic event, if you count the number of times you looked over to your buddies and said, “How the F$#@ did he/she do that?!!?” the GymDogs would outrank every sport combined. I’m not kidding. You just have to go.
Random thoughts that have been circulating my brain:
How does one get into luge? My theory: an ice skater who was deemed “too stiff” to really make it and made the switch.
I’m really glad to have something to watch on Sunday nights again, with HBO bringing on a new series: How To Make it in America. I have my doubts, though I also held doubts about Eastbound and Down.
The NBA Dunk contest was Pathetic, which led me to two things. 1. Why isn’t there a college one? (If there is, why isn’t it a bigger deal?) Is there any doubt Stanley Robinson vs. T-Bird is must-see TV? 2. Sometimes I like to mute the TV and play music while watching an event. It gives me a better judgment of what’s going on because I’m not swayed by the announcers (especially boxing). This became the first event I wanted to black out the TV and just listen to Charles Barkley.
The columns and pods have been on a bit of a hiatus, mainly because my laptop completely crashed and keeping up with such things has been difficult.
Until next time, Ball Hard.