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Gymnasts live to learn

Three+gymnasts+do+what+comes+natural.+They+are%2C+clockwise+from+left%2C+Althea+White%2C+Carly+Lovett+and+Ashley+McConville.
Three gymnasts do what comes natural. They are, clockwise from left, Althea White, Carly Lovett and Ashley McConville.

Three gymnasts do what comes natural. They are, clockwise from left, Althea White, Carly Lovett and Ashley McConville.

Three gymnasts do what comes natural. They are, clockwise from left, Althea White, Carly Lovett and Ashley McConville.

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Gymnasts come home sweaty, covered in chalk, out of breath, and ready for hibernation basically every day of the week. But the thing is, we thrive on this kind of stuff.

We gymnasts spend all of our time thinking about how to learn new skills or improve old ones. It gives us a whole new outlook on life.

“Once you get really involved in gymnastics, it starts to take over your life,” said Imagine eighth-grader Ashley McConville.

Gymnastics can be really tough at times, but you get used to pain and it definitely pays off.

“Gymnastics is really fun, even though it can be hard,” said Imagine eighth-grader Carly Lovett. “But it’s worth it.”

Carly is a level 6/7 gymnast and luckily, we can bond at both school and the gym. Her favorite skill is a Tuck Tsuk (Tsukahara), a skill where you put your hands on the vault table like a cartwheel and bring your legs over into a back tuck.

Ashley is a level 8/9 gymnast and has been in gymnastics since she was six. Her favorite skill is a Toe Front on the uneven bars. A Toe Front is a handstand on the high bar where you put one foot on the bar and swing down. Then you put your other leg on the bar and swing down into a front tuck.

Ashley does gymnastics in North Port. Carly and I train at a gym in Port Charlotte. She and Ashley want to go on to college gymnastics after high school.

“Competitions are usually from December to April, and we do about four competitions every season,” Ashley said.

Injuries are pretty hard to avoid as a gymnast. Carly, for instance, has wrist problems. There’s no avoiding the pain. Whether it’s stretching or landing in a bad position on a skill, it’s bound to happen.

Usually a team of gymnasts becomes more of a family. After countless hours spent together at the gym, you begin to see the best and worst sides of your teammates.

It’s a hard balance of school and gymnastics, but you have your own little schedule as a gymnast. Our three-hour weekday practices don’t get out until 9:00 p.m., and on Saturdays we have a four-hour morning practice.

But gymnastics is a like a mini-vacation from all of the stress of life outside the gym. Luckily, I get to experience a new vacation every day.

“I like gymnastics because it helps me escape from school,” said Ashley.

 

 

 

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