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September 21st, 2015:

Good Night Everybody! | Birthday Memories

REG DoorLast year for my birthday, I asked my friends to send me stories related to our friendship. I spent my birthday taking a trip down memory lane, reading through all of them. This year, I asked some of my friends if I could share their memories with you.

Today’s memory comes from Erika Brown, one of my teammates from Redwood Empire Gymnastics. I trained here for ten years, eight of which I was on the competitive team. When I asked my friends for their memories, a lot of people in my gymnastics family sent me a version of this story, but I think Erika captured it best:

For sure my most vivid memory of you growing up was of you in the gym, walking out the door every night and stopping to yell, “Good night everybody!!!,” and then all of us stopping to respond, “Good night Ruth!!!” It totally brought us together as a gym . . . like it was tradition and for a brief second we all acknowledged the same thing (you!!) as a family! Like when a kid would get a new skill and the whole gym would stop to watch and acknowledge their hard work…it always felt like that! 

Ruth & Erika in Santa Monica - March 2015

Ruth & Erika in Santa Monica – March 2015

I started this nightly tradition when I was fifteen or sixteen, and I don’t remember how or why it started. But it quickly became part of our nightly communal routine – not just for myself, but for the whole gym. It wasn’t a “me” thing but a “we” thing.

Here’s a bonus memory from Erika:

I also remember when I was younger, usually on vault, Rocky would get down on one knee and tell us what we were going to be doing that day and at the end he’d always ask, “Any questions?” and you would always ask, “What’s the meaning of life, Rocky.” And it always just blew my mind!! You’d think I’d have started to expect it, but no . . . every time you asked, inside I was always like “Whoooooaaaa, what IS the meaning of life right now!?!!?!?” (By the way – Rocky’s typical response was to smile, shake his head, and say “Just vault, Ruth.”)

Oh, I love my gymnastics family – so many wonderful memories from that place.