A Dozen Merit Badges for Parents of Competitive Gymnasts
There is no doubt: as joyful as it can be to be the parent of a gymnast, parents in our sport deserve their own awards.
As one season draws to a close and another begins, presenting a dozen ideas for gym parents’ merit badges.
To earn the “Fortitude Badge” complete two of the following achievements or the automatic award:
- Finding the gym where the meet is despite the written directions being wrong as well as your GPS insisting “no such address exists.”
- Listening to compulsory music over and over without going insane.
- Calling the sold out “host hotel” repeatedly until a room finally opens up.
- Be able to watch you child on beam without feeling like you might vomit.
Automatic award: dealing with “that” parent because your child is best friends with their child.
To earn the “Nutrition Badge” complete two of the following achievements or the automatic award:
- Creating a relatively healthy meal from the gym’s snack shop when you forgot to bring your child’s dinner to the gym. (Note: Fruit Roll Up may count as a serving of fruit since it does have the word “fruit” in it).
- Have two of the following three things packed and with you at all times: bottled water, protein bar and/or a banana.
- Avoiding the donuts during two consecutive Saturday mornings at the gym bake sales.
Automatic award: You cook dinner three times in any one week, even though you live in your car.
To earn the “Always Prepared Badge” complete two of the following achievements or the automatic award:
- Have three of the four following on you at all meets:
- Nail polish remover
- Extra grips
- Spare competition scrunchie
- Stain stick
- Have extra toys for siblings who are likely to get bored at meet.
- Have a full assortment of chargers for iPhones 4, 5 and 6
Automatic award: has a spare iPod with the entire team’s music loaded on it in case the coach forget theirs.
To earn the “Hair Stylist Badge” complete two of the following achievements or the automatic award:
- Bun such that it does not interfere with back extension roll on floor.
- French braiding skills worthy of a YouTube tutorial.
- Foam curler placement such that child sleeps without complaint.
- Child’s hair so gelled and sprayed that not only does not need to be touched up once during the meet but requires an entire bottle of shampoo to remove the shellac.
Automatic award: All the children on the team want you to do their hair, which earns you the right to show up at least 90 minutes before open warm up.
To earn the “Laundry Badge” complete two of the following achievements or the automatic award:
- White on leotard does not turn grey before end of season.
- Hand wash all leotards and hang dry.
- Warm up pants are hemmed to correct length.
- Travel with portable sewing kit for on the run repairs.
Automatic award: Color matches and replaces all stones that fall off of leotard.
To earn the “Balance Badge” complete two of the following achievements or the automatic award:
- manage to attend child-gymnast’s meet and other child’s sports competition in the same weekend.
- manage to attend meet and get the whole family to Grandma’s 8oth birthday party on time (or other important family event).
- make it to the gym for yourself a couple times a month
Automatic award: You have more than two kids. Really, we bow down to you.
To earn the “Puzzle Badge” complete two of the following achievements or the automatic award:
- be in charge of writing the carpool schedule.
- are in charge of collecting for and purchasing the team group gift for the coaches.
- figure out how to fit in religious school and math tutoring along side your child’s training schedule.
Automatic award: you are a single parent. You deserve a merit badge and a medal.
To earn the “Transportation Badge” complete two of the following achievements or the automatic award:
- find a carpool that involves three or more families
- coordinate schedule with spouse/partner so you are able to divide and conquer drop-offs and pick-ups
- not forget it’s you turn to carpool or forget a child at the gym more than once a month
Automatic award: you do all the driving; you have another child under age three that you drag out of the house post-8pm to do pick up. Again, you are our hero.
To earn the “Volunteer Badge” complete two of the following achievements or the automatic award:
- Ability to explain bump rotation warm-up to confused novice coaches while timing beam.
- Accurate mathematical computation of hot dogs to hot dog bun ratios when purchasing for concession stand.
- Mastery of scoring system and ability to rapidly produce award results while simultaneously printing results and the next session’s rotation.
Automatic award: you are the Booster Club President or Treasurer
To earn the “Coffee Badge” complete two of the following achievements or the automatic award:
- know the location of each Starbucks within a 5 mile radius of the gym
- know the coffee order of child’s coaches and the front desk person who always looks out for your kid.
- can make coffee in the gym’s coffee pot in a pinch
Automatic award: you bring coffee to any early morning practice, private lesson or meet session for the coaches.
To earn the “Photography Badge” complete two of the following achievements or the automatic award:
- Actually own a camera that is not on your smartphone.
- Manage to actually get a picture of child on awards stand where they are looking at the camera AND smiling.
- Know how to turn the flash on your camera off.
Automatic award: If this is your second child or greater, that you are actually taking any pictures at all!
To earn the “Entertainer Badge” complete two of the following achievements or the automatic award:
- Keeping 2 year old out of gym while sibling gymnast is in practice.
- Entertaining 9 year old brother during meet when you forgot the Ipad at the hotel.
- Figuring out how to stream NFL games to mobile device.
Automatic award: If you do not have a young child and provide any of these services for a fellow parent. Bless you.