Destiny was fearless. A complete wild child through and through. Of course, this is an admirable — and somewhat necessary— trait in gymnastics, a sport that defies every instinct your brain sends you.
“Go run full speed at an inanimate object, and do a flip before you hit the ground,” says your coach.
“Hell, no!” says your body.
But not with Destiny. No, it seemed as though she was absolutely undaunted by the thought of, oh, I don’t know, flying off the apparatus and snapping her neck in half. However, being the reckless, easily-excitable crazed gymnast that she was, perhaps a little caution would have been wiser.
And with this in mind, dear gymnasts, bars is where we set our scene. Destiny was up next, ready to try giants for the first time on the uneven bars. She had practiced over the pit on a single rail for who-knows-how-long, and our coach said today was the day for her to add it to her first full-level 7 bar routine.
Was she excited? Absolutely. A little antsy? Of course. Afraid? Never! She did not know the meaning of the word!
And so, she began. It was a simple beginning: a kip handstand, half pirouette, kip squat on, jump to the high bar, do a few giants and stop. Not even a dismount. She was just trying to get the basic giants under her belt. And so far, everything was going fine. She did a kip handstand, made the pirouette, kip, squat on…
Remember when I mentioned that she got a tad overzealous when she was excited? Her excitement that day was made abundantly clear when she jumped to the high bar, prepared to show those giants who’s boss… and missed entirely. Losing focus, she had completely overshot it, and ended up catching her wrists, not hands, on the high bar.
Ordinarily, even this would be fine, just not when the bar does catch the space just below your grips and wrist band. For you see, as I’m sure many of you know, there is just enough lip on the grip straps to keep you from falling immediately, but not enough to keep you on the bar. Poor Destiny figured this out as she royally peeled from the bar, sending her spinning through the air … onto the mat … on her neck.
For a moment, everyone was quiet, at least, as quiet as a gym could be, and Destiny was still. She was splayed on her back, arms and legs sprawled, but clearly unbroken.
“Destiny, are you okay?!” Our coach leaped to her side, checking for injury.
A seemingly endless moment later, she bolted upright, eyes wide, but miraculously entirely unharmed. The entire gym breathed a collective sigh of relief when we saw that she was alright.
That breath caught in our throats when we saw what that crazy girl did next.
“WHOA, THAT WAS AWESOME!”
With the excited shout and newfound energy, she scampered back to the bar to restart the routine before any of us could react.
I could only shake my head in awe. The girl had guts, no one could deny her that. Despite the mini-heart attack she gave me and the rest of our team, I was impressed by her bravery and determination to triumph over any and all pitfalls she may encounter.
That is, I was impressed until five minutes later, when she did it a second time.