Blowing off Steam


I’m REALLY cross today. The photos start in a gym: you’ll see why.


Yesterday started well. Dave and I had a full day coaching scheduled and, because son Leo had a long-standing invite with some school classmates which our guests didn’t want to share, my old friend Colin and his son Ollie decided to come with us – Ollie being an excellent artistic gymnast back in UK (and his dad still pretty good too). The girls in our party decided to go down to the Clinch River for a swim picnic and we would meet them late afternoon on our way home.


The owners of the gym center were quite cool with having our guests, who enjoyed themselves all morning. After lunch, I had the opportunity to put Ollie in a group of gymnasts of similar ability – but older than him, and Colin assisted me for a while in coaching. We got on to back somersaults.


The particular ‘preparation’ involves two coaches per boy, giving four points of potential support on the upper back and legs as they rotate, but leaving them to experience the free movement in the air unrestrained by support belts and whatnot and to learn to gain more height in the move. To my complete astonishment, another coach, female and quite senior but rather new to our gym, suddenly shouted out ‘stop that, it’s dangerous!’ or words to that effect. Almost the entire gym froze…


Colin said I went bright red. Anger rather than embarrassment – that came after. I learned this particular technique from a former national coach in Eastern Europe and we have employed it for years. The dear lady turned on her heel and walked away.

I don’t mind learning from other coaches, any time. We all do that. Destructive and inappropriate public criticism, entirely unjustified, is another thing altogether. And she’s not even a boys’ coach. At least the Romanian owners weren’t about, or they would have got an earful. And when Ivo and Pete return from their vacation, they’re going to get an earful anyway because they organise the coaching rotas and need to know what I think of this particular lady. I would never intervene in such a public way, even if justified: you don’t criticise coaches in front of the kids and, anyway, this was entirely inappropriate and showed that she has a lot to learn… people management too…


I was too cross to post as planned yesterday evening and I’m still steaming now.


Gymnastics is a great sport and I love both artistic and acrobatic gymnastics dearly, being something of a professional in the latter, although approaching mid-30s is probably the time to give it up.


Here are five lads looking forward to enjoying their training, untroubled by feuding coaches! A weird collection of facial expression, though, if there ever was one.



OK, enough of this rant.


Enjoy the rest of the images!





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

About tony

Born Northampton UK
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1 Response to Blowing off Steam

  1. Pingback: “Dad’s Irked!” | Tony Cavanagh

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