March 1, 2004

Stickin' It

Iím writing from my brand new computer with its gigantic and very not flat 17 inch monitor. There is something very shining and refreshing about its newness, as ridiculous as it sounds, I keep thinking in the back of my head that this bright new computer might magically compel me to write something brilliant.

I went to the Visa American Cup gymnastics meet at Madison Square Garden on Saturday. The arena was filled almost entirely with 8-13 year old girls. After each gymnast preformed the sound of thousands of high little voices would ring through the air yelling, ďGo Chellsie! Go Chellsie! Wooooh Cheeeeellsie!Ē (And yes, thatís really how she spells it). For a long time Iíve thought that gymnastics was a creepy and bizarre sport. Anything that involves putting an 11 year old girl through rigorous enough training that she comes out with bigger biceps than most boys I know is definitely weird.

On Saturday, sitting in that stadium, watching gymnast after gymnast flip across the mat and stick it, it took me a while to get over my criticism. These girls seemed like such a gross spectacle, it was almost like being at a freak show, but when they got to the beam I remembered. Watching the girls in the audience, sitting on the edge of their seats, their ponytails shuddering from anticipation, nervously moving their lip glossed mouths, I remembered that when I was that age I didnít analyze everything to death. If I liked something, I just liked it. There was no Freudian reason behind it, no unresolved issues or secret fears. There was just something inherently cool about any girl who was good on the balance beam. Maybe it was the way they held their heads in the airóthe tremendous confidence they seemed to exude as they cart-wheeled and back flipped across that stretch of wood. Maybe it was that perfect combination of grace and strength. Maybe there was no reason. The balance beam, the clarinet, Trapper Keepers, Jellies, these things all evoked that elusive and inexplicable thing: cool.

Posted by on March 1, 2004 1:40 AM