poem – handspring on beam

Thanks and Happy New Year to Charlie Amerosa who submitted a poem describing the experience of a gymnast overcoming a fear problem.

The Beast

Homework is done, time to get in the car
Back out of the driveway, the gym’s not that far
Heading down the road, my stomach’s in a knot
What group will I have, do they know I need a spot?

Slouching in the back seat, staring out into space
I used to be excited, but now that’s not the case
Mom interrupts, “let’s go honey, we’re running a bit late”
I snap out of my trance, not feeling too great.

Walking through the door, my palms feeling wet
Nodding at some friends, stretch hasn’t started just yet
Put my bag in the cubby, then on the floor to run,
My eyes glance at beam, this wont be much fun

You see I’m level 7 now and struggling with a new skill
I’m not even 12 years old, but I feel over the hill
It’s the back handspring on beam that’s dragging me down
Haven’t smiled in weeks, have a permanent frown

The groups have been split, level 7’s to BEAM
It could not have been worse, it’s like a bad dream
As we walk on over, I stare at the beast
Of all the events, I love you the least

Coach’s eyes meet mine, “go warm up your back”
“What a great opportunity, to get you on track”
Does he know that I’m scared, having a panic attack?
I have the desire, it’s the courage I lack

It’s my turn to go, I’m trying not to cry
My eyes feel wet, my throat is so dry
As I climb on the beam, my mind filled with fears
I set to go and….get nothing but tears

As a tear hits the beam, I’m in a frozen trance
My heart wants to go, my mind says no chance
Coach says “get down, let me explain something to you”
“When level 10’s are afraid, this is what they do”

“They SET and they GO, they don’t stop to think”
“Their arms go up, they jump back in a blink”
“They tighten their mind, if they hesitate they know”
“The fear will get in, then they just won’t go”

“Use your natural ability, you’ll know what to do”
“You have to trust yourself, as much as we trust you”
“Take a deep breath, and so there’s no misunderstanding”
“The only thought you should have, is to stick your landing”

Back up on the beam, moving kind of slow
My mind starts racing, then I hear “Set…go”
Wipe my hands on my legs, raise my arms over head
This is the moment I always freeze, but this time, instead..

I flew up, arched back, my hands hit just right
As I fly over, I push hard and I fight to stay tight
And in an instant, and to the amazement of all
I had done a back handspring, I did not fall!

My teammates are all cheering, from coach a warm smile
I stuck it, I stuck it, I’m staying up here a while!
So the beast is gone, and now I love beam
It was in me the whole time, or so it would seem

Even though “SET…GO helped me, to get over my fear
There was something special, that I needed to hear
I knew all along, what I was supposed to do
But what really gave me courage, were the words “We trust you”

Charlie Amerosa

Edgewood, New York
Email Flipr110 @ aol.com

photo – Christchurch School of Gymnastics

Published by

Rick Mc

Career gymnastics coach who loves the outdoors, and the internet.

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