Gymnasts balance life, beam

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With the combination of practice, responsibilities, and schoolwork, the gymnastics team has to be as flexible in life as they do during their routines. 

The CHHS Gymnastics team is one of the many sports that compete during the winter season. Since gymnastics is a dangerous and arduous sport, it has the potential to become too much to balance with school. But Hylander gymnasts have been putting in the work to find their equilibrium. 

To improve their skills, there are practices held on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, each lasting about three hours long. Practice takes place at the Mini Hops gym, located in Plymouth, which is shared with a few other teams, as Heights does not currently have the equipment or space to accommodate them. Four events are cycled through on a schedule during practice. 

Gymnastics has a unique style of competition compared to other sports. Everyone takes their turn competing in front of judges. Both junior varsity and varsity gymnasts compete in four different events: vault, beams, bars, and floor. Gymnasts do not get their scores back until after they have already left the competition. 

For this sport, CHHS and Columbia Academy teams are combined, spanning grades seven through twelve. 

“The age of the gymnast is not really something we pay attention to,” team member Paris Whitney (10) said. “For the most part, everyone is very supportive and everyone gets along fine.” 

Because the sport is somewhat focused on an individual rather than the team as a whole,  and with large age gaps between teammates, there are bound to be some disagreements. Currently, nothing significant has impacted the performance of this incarnation of the Hylanders. 

Like most extracurriculars, gymnastics can interfere with school work, especially on days that the team leaves school early, it can make it even harder to catch up. 

“It can be difficult to catch up on homework and classwork, but teachers are pretty understanding and are willing to help you with whatever you need to catch up with the rest of the class,” Whitney said. “In concert choir, I missed learning the songs, so now while everyone is rehearsing, I am still learning how it goes.” 

For students with core classes in their fourth hour, it can make a large impact on class understanding and grades, as it is much more difficult to teach yourself content and skills without the instructor’s help. 

While Heights gymnasts face academic struggles, the life skills from being on a team will undoubtedly help in the future and beyond. The friendships and support gained through being on a team sport are always beneficial and often worth any sacrifice made to participate in them. Plus, it always helps to know how to do a handstand without breaking your neck.