Posted by annejosephson on January 14, 2016 in coaching, humor | 6 Comments
The first set can be viewed here. And now, volume two!
My gymnastics coach was a misogynistic and psychologically abusive narcissist, scarring me for many years. He shamed me in front of my peers for minor congenital limitations I had no control over. The other girls learned to ostracize me or suffer his wrath. I dropped out of gymnastics a pariah at age seven, never really understanding what I did wrong but knowing I was somehow defective and ugly.
This was considered acceptable and even appropriate behavior in the 70s, though we dearly wished for a way to unseat him, and from what I’ve heard, not much has changed since then. Later, when I was much older, I learned he was ousted for reasons I cannot recall and I breathed a sigh of relief for myself and all the young girls he traumatized…but I still wish he could know the pain of being publicly told he was a mistake of a human being.
I am so so sorry to that this happened to you. There is a lot of movement to change this kind of behavior in our sport and while progress is being made, it is something that will only get better by brave people like you coming forward to talk about your experiences. Part of what this blog’s purpose is to make everyone involved in gymnastics to remember that our goal is to do good things for kids. You are not a mistake; your coach was an evil person.
Thanks for the acknowledgement–that feels really good.
I study neurogenesis and how the brain learns and changes itself. One thing all the experts agree on is the inestimable importance of a child’s idea of self, especially from birth to about age 7. Teach them they are awesome then and they will be unstoppable their whole life long. The reverse is also true, sadly, and very difficult to unlearn, especially past the teen years.
Gymnastics is a fantastic arena to learn that trying new things is fun. I’m glad somebody like you is out there showing them how.
PS: Tumbling was my event.
These are super cute! 😜
LikeLiked by 1 person
These are so relatable! Amazing post!
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