poem – Tuesday night in the gym

Tuesday night in the gym

5:00 PM

When you first walk in the gym
I look at your face, in your eyes
That moment almost always
Hints at the kind of night we will have
Some nights it’s a warm smile
And then a firm handshake of respect
Some nights it’s a certain look
That means
“Please don’t expect too much
from me tonight”
I take it very seriously
Because you are in my care
And nothing is more important to me
Than your health and well being
Your state of mind
Your confidence and attitude
Your skills and your progress
Your goals and your fears
What you’re good at
What you need to work on
What mood you’re in
How much energy you have
Your bumps and bruises
And quietly I think to myself
How was school?
How are things at home?
What are you thinking about?
Are you happy to be here?

5:30
I know you don’t like conditioning
But still you force yourself
Because once the coach asked you
What kind of gymnast are you?
Do you do your conditioning
Because you are being made to?
Or because you know its good for you?
I have told you
That it will make things easier for you
But not tomorrow
Or the next day
But it will
You won’t even really notice
But you will be stronger
And more confidant
And skills will be easier
I know you don’t like to run
Even though you’re getting used to it
But I make you run
To get your body warmed up
Ready to work
And more important
So you can take the 5 minutes
And think
Think about your night ahead
Think about why you are here
Think about not wasting a moment
Think about making progress
And not letting this night slip away

Stomach, arms and legs
Every night
And if it doesn’t hurt
Then you know
We haven’t done enough
And when you do a good job
With no whining
It makes me think
I should give them some fun tonight
After all their work is done

You decided this is who you want to be
And at that moment
You became special
No matter where it takes you
You will always be special now
Because it’s easy to stay home
Like your school friends
Do your schoolwork
And maybe a little hobby
Sewing, crafts, baking
Maybe a movie
Your favorite TV shows
Ice cream at eight O’clock
Some people choose the couch
And it really is ok
But you choose to fly
You chose long hard training
Night after night
And you could stop anytime
But you wouldn’t think of it
You live for the challenge
You think about it all day
You could never give up
Because you are special
Because it’s in you
It’s who you are now

6:00 Beam
Can you jump harder?
Pull you’re split harder
Come on, you need 180
You’re landing too low
Get you’re chest up
Get up on you’re toes
Can you stop wobbling
Can you think clearly
Stay in the moment
Have body tension
It’s not connected..do it again
And again, and again
Can you get focused?
Can you pay attention?
And get your hands
Right in the center of the beam
If you don’t go hard
You will bend your arms and fall
And split the beam
And that scrape, really hurts for a while
And still..you have to hold tight
And finish the handspring strong
To get both of your feet on
And make it all look good
And confidant
And you know
You have to do it all again tomorrow night
And if you fall
You have to handle it well
Stop crying
Get up and do it again
Because you know
It’s the right thing
It’s how you behave
All the time now

6:45
I watch you chalking up at bars
You take a long time
Because you are thinking hard
And I know you are afraid
To swing over the bar
You’re afraid of coming down
And afraid of ripping off
And afraid of letting go late
But if you don’t go hard
You can’t make it over
Think about body position
Because if you arch early
You will bail
And still you have to let go
At the exact right moment
And land on your feet
And stick it
You won’t make it
If you don’t train hard
And you’re taking too long
Between turns
Come on grit your teeth
Get determined
You can win this fight
If you trust yourself

7:30
I know you don’t understand
What I mean about blocking
You try to understand
But I’m not explaining it in a way
That you can see it
So I show you a gymnast
Who does understand
But it hurts your feelings
Still you manage to nod
That now you see
And I know you are trying
I can see it in your face
But it’s the same one again
And I take a deep breath
And try to explain it again
Maybe a different way
Use a different drill
I try and understand
Why you can’t understand
And I tell you
Be different
Be amazing
Have no doubts
I tell you all the time
Don’t be ordinary
Make them sit up
And pay attention
Don’t slow down
Let it fly
Right into the board
No hesitation
Total trust
And stay tight
Don’t pike on
Don’t arch off
Squeeze everything
And then one night
You hit one just right
You flew
Maybe by accident
But the look on your face
Was amazing
Because you really felt it
And now you knew
What I meant the whole time
And that fast
It changed
One vault
And now you were different
It was fast and powerful and tight
And it banged off the table
And it flew
High and far
And you planted the landing
And you felt really good

8:15
You run down the floor
You’re face so determined
To land on your feet
But you pull up a bit
In your front handspring
I can see you holding back
You try not to but you can’t help it
And you land on your butt
Again
I tell you
Your holding back
You’re not trusting yourself
Get up on your toes
Get your feet under you
Be fast and light
And at that exact moment
Decide
To trust your natural ability
And let it fly
And finally you land on your feet
And the look on your face
Is just amazing…again
I tell you
Be more expressive
Feel the music
Train it so hard
That in the end
It’s a work of art
Like an oil painting

9:00
Sometimes when you’re scared
You tell me your ankle, or knee or wrist hurts
And I know it probably does
But that’s not what’s stopping you
And you avoid what your afraid of
And sometimes it goes on for a while
But I know..if we don’t address it
It gets worse
So I have to push you
And just the way I am
I push gently
But I don’t stop pushing
Because if you put enough work into it
The fear will fade away
And you will move past it
Every time we go through this
You get over it
So I have to always remind you
Of all you have achieved
So that you remember
That you’re good at this
That you were born for this
And that all your struggles
And all your fears
And aches and pains
Sacrifices and hard work
Night after night
Make you seriously special
To anyone who knows you
And I know you
And I am blessed
And I will see you tomorrow night.

Charlie Amerosa

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Coach Charlie Flipr110 @ aol.com

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  • 8 comments ↓

    #1 shergymrag on 03.11.09 at 6:08 am

    God! That was long. I read the first couple lines and it was uninteresting to me. Did it get better?

    #2 Rob on 03.11.09 at 10:31 am

    I’m afraid today’s education promotes short attention spans. I love that poem. I hope you don’t mind me sharing this.
    Thanks

    #3 coach Rick on 03.11.09 at 10:45 am

    It is long. But this is my favourite poem of Charlie’s, so far.

    So many of the ideas in the stream ring true with me. I could identify with many of my own “long” nights in the gym.

    Not every day is a “good” day for every gymnast.

    #4 shergymrag on 03.11.09 at 11:51 am

    I’ve got
    yesterday’s
    education.
    And I
    don’t think
    every
    column
    of words
    is a poem.

    #5 Jim Rand on 03.11.09 at 5:38 pm

    Rick,
    That wasn’t a poem, it was a thesis!!!!!!! Please!

    #6 JJ on 03.11.09 at 10:28 pm

    Great poem!!! I know true gymnasts will appreciate the poem’s message :)

    #7 TP on 03.11.09 at 11:37 pm

    It is interesting, but needs some serious grammar and spelling checks.

    #8 Gabby on 10.07.10 at 3:57 pm

    oh please. This really shows whats it like to be a gymnast out on the floor during practice.. last time i checked gymnastics wasnt about making sure theres a comma everywhere there has to be. Charlie is a coach that loves what he does and loves sharing it with people who will appreciate it. & I know after being a gymnast for 14 yrs I could say that this makes total sense to me even with spelling and grammar errors! Great job charlie! The Beast is still my favortie :)

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