Schyler Jones and Lisa Bowerman TWU

Kids Say the Darndest Things: Which Event Is the Hardest?

The statement “Kids Say the Darndest Things” remains true about most things in life, even college gymnastics! In this series, we will take a different aspect of college gymnastics, from skills to leotards and everything in between, and have kids react. It’s Kids Say the Darndest Things…about College Gymnastics!

For this first edition, we started with the basics. We asked kids to tell us what they knew about gymnastics and which event they felt was the most challenging. Have ideas for what we should ask kids next? Leave a comment to let us know!

NOTE: Names and ages of children have been changed to protect their identities. Proper permission was obtained to post quotes from those involved. No additional editing outside of correcting grammar has been done.

So the first event that we’re going to talk about is the vault. What do you know about the vault?

Kenny, age 9: “I don’t know what vault is, but it’s probably a flip or something. What is a vault?”

Taylor, age 8: “For the vault, I think you are supposed to flip off it. I do not know for sure.”

Chris, age 10: “I used to do gymnastics and in my second year I broke my arm on the vault. My fourth year I got head trauma from hitting my head on the ground.”

Katie, age 9: “Vault is like when you run and do a flip then land on the mat.”

What is so hard about doing vault?

Sarah, age 10: “It looks like you could easily break your back or your wrist. I think the way the vault is built, it looks like when you flip over it, then your back could either curve too much or not enough. You could also put so much pressure on your wrist that you could sprang [sic] it.”

Matt, age 11: “See, when you go on the vault, you can hurt yourself badly like break a leg or bump your head. You have to be strong and be fast and work hard. If you jump too high, you miss, but if you jump too low, you fall. There’s no win win. If you don’t run fast, you hit your head, but if you run too slow, you hit your stomach. AGAIN, there’s NO WIN WIN!”

David, age 9: “The thing that they spin or flip on is bouncy, which can make them fall or they could break something.”

Let’s move on to the uneven bars. Tell me something you know about those.

Ellie, age 8: “I don’t know much about it, but I think you have to let go of it and land on your feet.”

Thomas, age 10: “I’m pretty sure that you have to do a backflip, and If you miss the backflip, it just comes with long-life trauma but also a broken face.”

Maddie, age 9: “You can also fall and get injured and have medical attention and go to the hospital. On the bars, see, your arm can just give up and you fall and go head first.”

Taylor, age 10: “Your arms are going to fall off when you get home.”

So, what makes the uneven bars so hard?

Ryan, age 9: “What if the bar breaks or falls apart, and what if they don’t have the strength to turn all the way around? Or what if they are mid way around the bar and just fall? That would hurt bad, and I mean bad.”

Casey, age 10: “You have to get a grip on the bar and start getting momentum to swing in a circle. If I tried this, I would get dizzy and confused.”

Emily, age 11: “You have to hold your body weight and learn to do cool tricks on the bars, but every time you do a trick, you have to catch the bar again.”

Paul, age 10: “You have to swing around it like they do on TV. Or you might have to stand up on the bars or something. Another reason it’s the hardest is you can get badly injured or either killed.”

Alright, now to the third event: beam! What do you know about the balance beam?

Carson, age 9: “I’ve heard of it, but I think it would be hard to do but fun to see. Imagine staying on a beam and doing tricks I would have fell [sic] instantly.” 

Noah, age 8: “The beam is too skinny to be balanced on and to do flips on.”

Joanne, age 10: “One time I did a cartwheel on something that looked like a balance beam, and I bent my wrist. Then I tried it again, and I fell and hit my head.”

OK… Why is the beam so hard then?

Jasmine, age 11: “I think the beam is hard because when the gymnastics team flips on the bean [sic] they can fall and hurt themselves really badly. So when they run on the beam to flip, they can slip and fall. Also, when they do multiple flips and jumps, I just don’t know how they stayed on the beam. I also think that when they do a cartwheel on the beam, HOW IN THE WORLD DID THEY STAY ON! Lastly, when they do a cartwheel, then a flip and backflip on the beam, I JUST DON’T KNOW HOW THEY STAY ON!”

Charlie, age 9: “On the beam, all you gotta do is just make one mistake and BAM! You fall, you get injured, and you go to the hospital in bad health conditions. You stay in the hospital for days and you can’t do gymnastics any more.”

Abby, age 9: “You have to be able to balance very well. Also you have to be able to do flips and handstands on that beam. I think beam is also not easy because you have to put that slippery stuff on your hands.”

Jacob, age 10: “You have to stay balanced. Imagine trying to do a cartwheel then stay on the beam. Like that’s pretty hard to do. That takes practice.”

The last event is the floor! What do you know about competing on floor and what makes it so difficult?

Ashley, age 8: “You have to do a lot of stuff: tumbling, backflips. And it’s a lot of exercise.”

Erin, age 10: “You have to tumble and flip, and if the judge doesn’t like what you do, then you don’t get a point.”

Joseph, age 10: “The floor is easy. You can do backflips, cartwheels, frontflips, and twist and turn thingy, then land, and the iconic splits and many more tricks on the floor.”

Kristy, age 7: “The worst thing to do is fall. I hope you don’t fall.”


Article by the editors of College Gym News

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