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Susan Anderson: ‘Give me the gymnasts any day’

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Susan Anderson: ‘Give me the gymnasts any day’

Susan Anderson

Our nation is fixated with sports. Well, not our nation as in every person. However, it’s a fairly significant topic among our family and friends.

We really (I mean really, really!) enjoy watching football – more the college sport than professional. It’s difficult to stay seated and quiet when our Tigers (or Hokies) play ball. Perhaps it’s our regard for those young men putting it all on the line for their teams, and maybe for a chance to make it to the “big leagues.” It‘s obvious that much effort and endurance is necessary.

Baseball has become a favorite spring-summer sport. Previously we’d change the channel. Now we’re all in with the Braves, absentee-encouraging their races around the bases, heavy hitting and the dash to catch a fly ball. Obviously, those fellas are in top shape.

Basketball is another favorite. Again, it’s the college guys (and recently, also the gals) who earn attention. The final game in March Madness this year was awesome. In that, meaning I was in awe of how hard those young men worked to win. No embarrassment for the losers – any of them – for they were all winners in my book.

We don’t often watch tennis. Yet we know that it takes physical strength and stamina to constantly dash back and forth to hit the ball. Watch the players sweat profusely and know they’re working intensely.

Now to the golfers. It appears that golfing persons are considered athletes (stated “tongue in cheek”). They don’t sprint from hole to hole, they have a caddy to carry their heavy equipment, their clothing is comfortable (and probably moisture-wicking). The most physical danger, seemingly, is that they might cramp up on a hot day, or twist their bodies and strain a muscle. Do they even perspire, except for anxiety? (Though intentional, forgive if I offend any players or fans!)

The athletes most admired are the women gymnasts. “Awe” doesn’t even come close to describing the wonder and admiration for all they accomplish.

When, during high school we had a gymnastics rotation, my coordination wasn’t up to managing that 4-inch balance beam – and it rested on the floor. Though I was technically in my prime, no way could I have swung myself up to the parallel bars, much less pivoted around them. Even though it was just a taste of gymnastics, it was obvious what a difficult competition it is.

I wonder, if golfers attempted the balance beam, much less do flips and remain upright, or attempt to spring onto the horse and summersault to standing - their bruises would be their medals. Football, basketball, baseball, and tennis athletes possibly possess some of the skill required in gymnastics – though they’d be hard pressed to excel.

There are other sports that represent the term “athletics.” Certainly, many worthy of respect have been omitted, including winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding.

Then curling comes to mind.

Give me the gymnasts any day.

Susan Anderson lives in Opelika with her husband. Contact her at


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