What TV's taught me: I shouldn’t have given up gymnastics

What TV's taught me: I shouldn’t have given up gymnastics

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So from the start I think it’s important I point out that when I say give up gymnastics, I don’t mean I was on the verge of a blossoming career, high beaming, vaulting and parallel bar-ing my way into the record books when I abandoned my unfulfilled potential and became a journalist instead.

I only actually went to two lessons. When I was about 6.

If I’m honest I don’t really remember much about them: the blue spongy mats smelt a bit funny, the studio was somewhere near Sainsburys and I saw a dead badger by the side of the road on the drive home.

But watching Tumble has made me regret deciding to cut my gymnastics journey short.

How was I to know I’d never be a prima ballerina when I quite innocently chose to pursue the frothy tutus and ribboned shoes of ballet class instead? A life-long love of pink pumps was all that I took away from that experience.

Now, almost 20 years later, I’m envious of the balance, poise and strength the celebrities on new BBC1 talent show Tumble convey, let alone their god-like professional partners. I can feel my joints ceasing up just watching them.

What would life be like if I could lift my own body weight, as opposed to struggling to get a heavy mug of tea near my face? I genuinely see being able to touch my toes as an achievement in flexibility. And I'm far too scared to find out if I can still do a forward roll. 

What these now super-fit celebrities are doing each week is incredibly brave and incredibly clever - diving nowhere near a pool, dropping off a hoop, hanging upside down, doing the splits WHILE hanging upside down. It's got all the visuals of Strictly's dancing but with so much more jeopardy. (Though, thankfully, not the Dancing on Ice kind, when you were just waiting to spy some severed celebrity fingers lying on ice.)

Sure it’s not all spangly costumes and super toned stomachs. They're suffering the kind of bleeding and blistered hands that you just don’t get from typing. However many stories I write. Which is obviously one of the perks of spending my time sat on a swivelly chair at a desk and not on a pommel horse. 

Let's be sensible, here. I’m not about to tie a hula hoop to my curtain rail and give it a go, but watching Tumble is more than enough encouragement to put down my takeaway and go to the gym. 

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