TOTS 100 - UK Parent Blogs

Monday, 15 April 2013

Daughters' 2nd Gymnastics Competition

Warning!!!! This will be a rant. But i am also doing the proud mum bit.

Another long sunday! This time we were heading off to Gillingham Gymnastic club. Despite it being called Gillingham Gym its actually based on the outskirts of Chatham. And what a strange place it was. To get there we had to go through a housing estate to a small industrial estate. There it was in a small compound without parking. We had to park at the bottom of the other end of the industrial road and risk a ticket as there was no parking within sight. I couldn't have gone and parked by the houses as i couldn't have walked that far.
Once outside the gym all you could see was a mass of people standing there. Off to one side working from an open hatch was a man doing burgers -they smelt nice, and there were lots of appreciative comments. but in front of his hot plate they had placed a pallet to keep customers from getting too close. My concern was that the pallet had a rough edge on the top. Not just from it being a wooden pallet, but where part of it had broken off! Good health and safety there!!!

Next came the signing in. We were early but we thought we'd get daughter registered and then we could find seats. Nope, we had to wait an hour, and then her club rep had to do it, so we had to find her. Not difficult as we'd seen her. So one part sorted. The changing area was so full of childrens clothes that there was no floor and you had to step on clothes for daughter to get to toilet. I made the descision along with many other parents to keep hold of all clothes just in case.

Next we had the joy of queueing up to get in and watch. Again that was in the outside part of the compound. Lucky this was the 1st really sunny day we've had. We were standing around outside for 2 hours. The amount people waiting was huge. Not surprising as parents and grandparents as well as brothers and sisters want to come. while we were waiting the queue started moving and the round 2 parents started to go in. Then came a problem. There were too many people to fit in the small, and i mean small spectating area. They were standing almost out the door. One of the doors couldn't even be opened another Health and safety point- What if there had been a fire! Those people wouldn't have been able to get out as the door was blocked with parents. Outside there were even parents who had paid but couldn't get in and see their children perform. There were complaints building.

In the end we were lucky, we were at the front of the queue for round 3, which was daughters round. just as it started raining they decided we could pay and wait in the foyer, at last chance to sit and rest my back and legs, which by this point were in agony.

Once inside we rushed for a good seat- there were very few of them. We went upstairs and i looked at the size of the floor space and vault run. Not enough space is an understatement, and the vault iteslf- i don't know the proper name but it looked like a pommel horse without the handles. Not what our children had been training on. It was obvious once the events started that some had as they were doing straddle leaps over it, they were placing their hand on the markers exactly. Whereas our squad had more of a struggle, some of them not even managing to make it. It was slippery and one girl fell and was crying. Don;t get me wrong our squad weren't the only ones who stumbled, there were many others. My main gripe with this is that there were one or two gyms who had clearly practised on one of these so called vaults and they had an advantage. I feel very strongly that if this type of appratus was to be used all gyms should be aware so they can train all their gymnasts on it. Or since they had the correct type of vault in the gym, that should have been used.

The floor space i can't complain too much about, it wasn't long enough or wide enough as when i came to daughters turn they had split it in two so they could speed up the event. So two gymnasts competing next to each other. I understand they have to get used to different size floors, but when 10 minutes previously the 1st group were competing on the same floor on their own i feel that they were again given an advantage. They didn't have to shorten their moves, or turn round a lot more to get all of their moves in. So why make another group have to do so.

Gymnastics is about having fun 1st and foremost, but they all work so hard to get somewhere and they all want to get the best score they can. I feel that they should all be given equal chance. That means they all train and can use the apparatus they are used to. and they are all given the same space to move about in on the day. Not have the shambles that we had yesterday.

At the end of the day, daughter improved on her overall score from her last competition. She increased an entire mark on her vault, despite the difference in vault. Although she has had 2 private lessons to concentrate on it. Her floor was lower, but she did stumble on a couple of her moves. But i have to wonder that if she had been given the space as the 1st group had would she have stumbled or not. This is something we will never know.

One thing i do know, is that i'm not the only parent who was unhappy with everything and who will be saying something to our gym manager. I know the answer will be a non commital- i can't do anything about it. Fair enough he can't. But for the future i think they should consider whether they go there again. I will update, no doubt with another rant once i have spoken on the gym.

There we go. Proud parent but with a rant.


  1. that is just so wrong. How can it be a competition if they are not all haveing the same advantages/disadvantages. Sounds like a fix to me!

    1. We found out more interesting information about the scoring at her first lesson of the week. And so many of us have complained to the gym that they are passing information back and its likely that they won't go there again as a gym.

  2. And a rant justified I reckon. It's such a shame that some of the other children seemed have an advantage and that just simply isn't fair. Someone once said to me, after I ranted about kids having equal opportunities, that kids are all different and so equal opportunities isn't something they will ever have - of course, this is quite true in all walks of life but when it comes to a hobby that could one day be turned into something the child wants to do more in a professional capacity, equal opportunities should be paramount.

    The health and safety issue is pretty shocking; I would have probably complained!!

    I also want to thank you for your kind comment on my video blog post today. I was interested to learn what you meant by saying I made your hands tingle like when you practice Reiki. I don't know anything about Reiki I'm afraid but you probably know I am sensitive to the spirit world.. so was wondering if the two are connected?

    Best wishes, Kathryn (CJ) x

  3. Thank you CJ, i have sent you a message on your FB page explaining Reiki in a bit more detail, it seemed easier.