Slow Going…

Slowly the snow is going, but the cripplingly cold overnight temperatures here have added to the general disruption of our plans! The kids were meant to be on a school trip into the Smokies: that was cancelled for obvious (snow!) reasons. Our training cabin is not well insulated for 20F (-7C) temperatures, so our morning training routines have been disrupted too. Even Leo wears a shirt – and a sweat top – to go across the yard…

Sunday morning, Leo and Jaymee decided to practice their ‘unison’ balance routine on their blocks in Leo’s basement training space. Leo was also keen to earn a little more cash training the 9yo twins, whose planned evening session we had to cancel Friday. So I called their dad, who agreed to bring them over to our place for the day.

No more snow pictures (brrrrrr!) – just general ‘training’ for today’s gallery:

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Stevie and Josh duly arrived in time to see Leo and Jaymee still hard at work perfecting their coordination.

‘Permesso?’ I rapped on the door at the stair which leads down to Leo’s domain.

‘Prego!’ We have to speak Italian just now, following a recent pizza delivery…

‘Grazie!’

‘Mi dispiace, ma ho non parlo bene l’italiano….’ Enough. It’s Dave who always throws in a bit of ‘foreign’…

I knocked partly because I wasn’t sure what they’d be wearing (his basement stays warm at night!) – the twins father in tow – and also because, at 14, they need a bit of respect anyway.

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I left them alone to warm up the twins with some simple exercises like this one (no room here for running and stuff)…

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…and then set a programme of alternating handstand training and stretching. Once again, these twin boys were over the moon to be with the ‘actual acrobats’ and who wanted to be able to do the same things. I checked on them from time to time and our two were doing a grand job of coaching and encouraging. The twins showed no sign of flagging, so I occupied myself preparing some lesson plans for the gymnastics groups I coach.

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When the twin’s dad returned at lunch time, I found them happily doing handstands on top of Leo’s back bridge, more or less balancing themselves on his stomach with just a little bit of support from Jaymee. Our two had carefully taught the right sort of body shapes, too, and even better, the twins were doing their best to get them right. Training these two is going to be fun and, if they keep it up, I can see them joining the young acro ‘clique’ we have created! Leo and Jaymee split the fee, so they were happy too.

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Leo’s various mates trudged through the snow in the afternoon to join him in the by-then somewhat warmer cabin for their planned weights and wrestling session. Jaymee and our two lesbian moms were already there in their usual states of training undress, but everyone is used to that and the boys just stripped off anyway and got on with their tasks, and were eventually left on their own. Five in all – Leo, Chris, the openly gay Jude, upcoming wrestler Ryan and his skinny contortionist wrestler friend Tjark. All with one objective: get strongly/fitter/better… for all their various sports:

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I really love the way that these boys have ‘gelled’ into a group which spends as much time encouraging each other as working out for themselves: there is no sense here of wanting to be better than the rest, but rather wanting the rest to be as good as you.

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So everyone gets very sweaty, despite the cold weather. But what to do? No shower! The hosepipe is frozen up. ‘Easy’, grins Jude, who has found a video on YouTube of Czech boys at a winter wrestling camp. ‘We’ll just swim in the snow…’

This involves, basically, swimming crawl in the snow around a course (in our yard, out and back around a tree) in just underpants (the neighbours may be watching, so no naked attempts!). Actually, the neighbours regard us as totally mad anyway, so the sight of boys in their underwear flailing their arms in an inadequate amount of snow depth for so-called swimming should not be particularly unusual for them!

Sorry, I don’t have pictures of that… so we’re back in a gym for our next shot:

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They towelled each other off to warm back up, then grabbed their clothes and tumbled back into the house in search of food before all disappearing into Leo’s basement.

The planned Sunday evening meal with Jude’s parents did go ahead as planned. We fed the hungry five and dispatched them back to the cabin to entertain themselves any which way until some of them had to drift off home. This was intended as an occasion to try and reassure Jude’s parents that his being gay wasn’t all bad. In the company of four gay parents, though, they were clearly uneasy. We had to explain a lot of how we got together, how we managed to create two beautiful and straight kids, sporty in our own images but absolutely ‘normal’ in every other way. It’s all in these:

Loving the Boy: ISBN 978-1-907732-30-0

The Power of Love: ISBN 978-1-907732-41-6

Against All Odds: ISBN 978-1-908645-35-7

Fundamentally, each of our two offspring effectively has two dads and two mums, since both gay pairs live in the same household (we didn’t, for a long time, and the kids shuttled around a little). We think that they are far better off than any kids who get passed between estranged parents. Some kids in school have been a little unkind, accusing them that they ‘must’ be gay because of their parents: Leo generally sorts that out very swiftly, and they have always been willing to talk with us about any trouble which has occurred. We think that they are growing up as very mature and tolerant young people who have a great life both within the family and with their friends – not to mention their professional acrobatic performing abilities, which makes them very special!

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Jude’s ‘problem’, if he has one, is that he tends to go around almost boasting about being gay, seemingly oblivious to the undercurrent of resentment and intolerance that resides in this Bible Belt region. In Canada, they lived in a quite remote region and no-one seemed to give a damn. So, his initial appearance in the High School was a little awkward, and Leo quickly took him in hand: if any High School pupils understand homosexuality, I guess it has to be our two…

Hopefully, all will be well for him and his parents are a little less uneasy. We shall see.

And so to the rest of the pictures:

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ring crunches

(Novel use for the rings – and weird to wear jeans for gymnastics – but a perfect opportunity for abs crunches…)

And finally for today, a happy lifter poses for us before he lifts his barbell, a satisfied look on his face. That’s what it’s all about!

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About tonycavanagh

Born Northampton UK; school Oxford UK and Oak Ridge Tennessee, where I met my wonderful partner Dave, also from UK. Oak Ridge is our main training base for acrobatics and circus stuff, but we also established a base in Wales (UK) to serve us when we are working in Europe. Our 'story', of finding gay love, learning the acrobatics trade and then of how we got shot at during our show (and worse was to follow - just to prove that the risks of being an acrobat are not always the most obvious ones!) are now available in my three books 'Loving the Boy', 'The Power of Love' and 'Against All Odds'. Links available on most blog posts. Actually, waiting for the imminent arrival of the first printed copies was far scarier than anything we do in performance. A fourth book - not about us but exploring the sadness of a gay Native American boy denied his true identity - is currently with an agent for evaluation. watch for 'Let The Future Find Me' in due time. And now to book five... another boy, another quest... seems its always boys...
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