The U.S. Olympic Trials for gymnastics is this weekend! I was a gymnast for 17 years and I love this sport. Unfortunately, elite gymnastics is on TV only 3-5 times a year, so when it’s on, I drop everything and watch it. I’m sure all my ex-gymnast friends will be watching too except for the handful of friends who still live in the Bay Area that get to be there in person. The U.S. has a lot of talent gymnasts on the men’s and women’s side so it will be exciting to see who makes the team.
Handstand in San Francisco – December 2011
Gymnastics is a sport that when you stop doing it, you lose your skills pretty fast. At this point, I need a trampoline to do anything except for a few simple skills – like handstands. A lot of current and ex-gymnasts are proud members of the random handstand club.
Ex-gymnasts are pretty easy to spot when we’re traveling. When we take pictures with important monuments or iconic places, we usually take one “normal” picture and one handstand picture. It’s a gymnast thing. I love seeing all of my friends’ handstand pictures from their travels. A few years ago, one of my teammates did a big trip through Europe and made it a point to take a handstand picture in every country.
I’ve been meaning to add a tab to my site for all my handstand photos. The Olympic Trials seemed like as good an excuse as any . . . and I couldn’t think of anything better to write about this week.
If you look through the album, you’ll notice I’m in the same pose in almost every handstand photo. That’s because this is the only position I can hold long enough to get a decent photo. I wish I had better balance so I could do handstands in more daring places, but I’d rather not die because of my random hobby.
I hope to be able to do handstands for a long time and to share my adventures with you. Enjoy!
I was a gymnast from age 4 to 23. I was a competitive gymnast for 8 of those years. Gymnastics was more than a sport for me – it was a lifestyle. Not doing it was never an option. When I struggled with injuries, I just had to find a way to work through or around the pain.
Rocky & His Girls, 1993
I had an amazing coach during my competitive career named Rocky Kees. He brought out the best in me and all my teammates. That man was gymnastics magic. I absolutely loved training with him. It was one of the best times of my life. And Rocky taught me more than gymnastics. He taught me life skills that I carry with me to this day.
One of Rocky’s mantras was, “Get a helmet.” It was his way of saying, “Suck it up” but it had an added element of respect for how hard our work was. He respected that gymnastics was hard or scary, but he wouldn’t tell us to do anything that we couldn’t do. We all heard, “Get a helmet” on a regular basis. To this day, I can post “It’s a Get A Helmet kind of day” on Facebook and I’ll get lots of acknowledgements from my former teammates.
Post-It Above My Desk
“Get a Helmet” has become my mantra for building my law firm. I have it written on a little post-it note above my desk. Every day comes with its own set of challenges, whether it’s managing my calendar, balancing the books, doing client work, writing my book, or marketing the hell out of myself and my firm. There are a lot of things I’d rather not do, but that’s not really an option when you run a one-person shop. Sometimes I get tired, frustrated, and unmotivated. That’s when I look up at that post-it note, take a deep breath, and soldier on.
Remembering to “Get a Helmet” keeps my eye on the prize. I’m not asking myself to do anything impossible. It’s just hard and scary. I can handle that.