Welcome to Unorthodox Gymnastics 3.0
Because gymnastics is a religion.
Welcome to my newsletter! It’s about gymnastics. Mostly.
I know that I’m super late to this party and that every other writer in the world has already started a newsletter but it’s not cool to show up to parties on time. And since I don’t smoke, showing up late to parties is the only way I can appear cool.
I’m calling this newsletter “Unorthodox Gymnastics,” which is what I used to call my now defunct Blogspot blog that I started in 2007. (I also restarted the blog on my website, which is why this is the third version of this whole shebang.) It’s a good name and I can’t come up with anything better. I only have so many smart titles in me, five at most. I’m going to have to milk this one for all it’s worth.
And the language of (un)orthodoxy is apt because gymnastics really is a religion. Hear me out: There’s a rulebook that is difficult to parse and doesn’t always make sense. The rules change over time. The sport is run by a rotating cast of petty masters who demand praise, accolades, and things named after them. (Hi Nellie Kim.) Gymnastics tells what you can eat, and more importantly, what you can’t eat. And finally, there’s endless debate over minute details. Did she get close enough to fully rotating the triple full to get credit or should it be downgraded? Did she hit the handstand? Did her split leap hit 180 degrees? I can totally see a couple of Talmudic scholars taking up these questions and arguing about them with the kind of fervor you’d see from them in the beis midrash, debating whether a large pot of meat stew is kosher after a splash of milk falls into it. (Free sketch comedy idea: Rabbis judging beam routines. You’re welcome.)
Ah, religion and sports. Two peas in an obsessive compulsive pod.
This is a newsletter for people who, when they hear “CV,” think “curriculum vitae.” This is also a newsletter for people who think of “connection value” when they hear “CV.” For the former group, I’ll do my best to talk about all of the ins and outs of the sport that NBC never bothers to fully explain. As for the latter—what do you send out when you apply for jobs?
As for me, I generally think of “connection value” when I hear “CV.” (Why yes, I am unemployed.)
At times, I will write about things that aren’t gymnastics. The name of this newsletter is kind of elastic in terms of meaning, which I take to mean that I can write about almost anything that strikes my fancy. This is how I approached the blog back in 2007. I wrote about TV shows, religion, my family, your mom, music, dance, and figure skating.
That said, this will be mostly about gymnastics. I’ve been obsessed with the sport for 30 of my 36 years and I’m not going to stop now. (I can’t account for the first six years of my life, but I do have a message for five year old Dvora—What the hell are you doing with your life? Playing “house” with your Barbies instead pretending they’re gymnasts at the Olympics? Get it together! Also, learn to tie your damn shoelaces!)
There’s less than a year to go until Tokyo, not that anyone is counting down the days. Let us now pray in the Church of Flips and Splits to the the patron saint of delightfully bizarre choreography, Svetlana Boginskaya.
Bow down before her interpretation of Bolero.