Jon and I went back to Hendon Leisure Centre (thank you again GLL!) for our second gymnastics session. We were introduced to our coach for the day – Adel Berrimi – and I felt obliged to immediately offer my apologies for being in such poor shape. Allied to my natural inability at all things gymnastics, my right arm is currently a one limb disaster area with injuries to my wrist (sabre) , elbow (tennis) and shoulder (shot put, swimming, shooting, you name it).
One constant from all the different sports we’ve done, is just how professional and supportive the coaches are – and Adel was no exception. In the background were a number of young (sub 10) gymnasts performing all manners of flips and twirls at great speed while Adel had to coach and encourage two complete beginners with aching joints.
As anyone whose read my first gymnastics blog knows, there’s a lot about gymnastics that makes me pretty nervous. Nothing we did this time was quite as bad as the previous session’s forward roll, but there were a lot of manoeuvres that required me to commit a long way out of my comfort zone.
Our first apparatus was the pommel horse and we started our training using a mushroom (large and padded) and a bucket (normal size and make). Your feet go in the bucket which is then swung around while you get used to how you move your arms on the mushroom. Having sort of mastered this, we then did a couple of simple moves on the pommel horse itself. Not easy…
Our second apparatus was the rings. Adel got us swinging on this and then, with a little help from Adel, we managed an inverted hang i.e. we were upside on the rings with our feet pouting as the ceiling. Apparently this is the most basic position (and a lot easier than the crucifix position for example) but I can tell you it felt pretty good having achieved it.
Finally, we moved onto the beam which in some ways was the day’s easiest piece of equipment. We managed to walk across on our tip toes , to turn 180 degrees, to do small jump and then a tuck jump, and even to do a sort of prance on the beam. Can’t tell you there was a lot of elegance to it all but at least we didn’t fall off (the whole time..)
I left the session shattered but reasonably pleased with myself – not for the (frankly awful) level of performance but for having overcome a couple of personal demons. Hats off to Adel for getting us through 4 apparatuses in one piece!
And as always, I sign off with a link to my fundraising page. If the site of me upside down on the rings has made you smile even a little, then please do donate here: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/DansGoldChallenge. It’s all in aid of NSPCC, Cancer Research UK, Right To Play, Oxfam and Scope, so every penny will be well spent.