Today we watched freezing pixies compete in a competition whilst we tried to stay warm and pretend we were interested.
Today was the annual competition for our youngest’s Rhythmic Gymnastics club. We chose this club because we knew she needed an outlet for her energy and because she liked to dance and is naturally flexible. We also chose it because it didn’t require the personal loans and endless debt involved in putting her in ballet lessons.
Rhythmic Gymnastics is one of those competitions that suffers because its appearance overwhelms its substance. What the competitors due requires balance, flexibility and stamina. If they are using props it requires hand eye coordination and timing. The problem is it all looks so silly, especially when props are involved. It’s also had to take seriously a sport where the competitors lose points if their hair bun comes lose. (Well, technically that’s true in Sumo, too, but, well.)
This same thing applies to Synchronized Swimming which, physically, is one of the most challenging competitions in the Olympics. It just looks silly. (At least in Rhythmic Gymnastics the competitors don’t wear Halloween mask nose plugs.)
The other issue, in the case of your youngest’s club, is that for reasons I don’t fully understand, Japan believes all gymnasiums (gymnasia?) should be unheated in winter. This means the competitors have to practice and perform on a cold floor in a cold gym (sit on a cold floor in your underwear and you’ll understand the pain they suffer) while the audience also freeze. To make matters worse, the benches in the gymnasium were designed for small people and had low backs, as if they were spare bus stop benches the builders happened to have lying around.
Our youngest got 16.30 points out of 20, which put her in the top half of the competitors but way out of the top 10. Although she has a lot of fun doing the performances, she’s still a bit sloppy. She doesn’t stop her spins crisply and her jumps still seem more lazy than strong.
Most importantly, though, her hair stayed in its bun.