The Blood Wall Trilogy Part III

Hi, all! Welcome to the third and final chapter of the Blood Wall Trilogy. If you haven’t read the first two chapters, please click here to get caught up before reading chapter three: End of an Era.

As you may have read in the second installment, I pride myself on being one of several who helped spread the custom to the gym I transferred to around level 7. However, I am ashamed to admit that I was also witness to the end of the tradition that was the blood wall.

The beginning of the end was a face-plant on beam. Little did I know that a botched handspring layout to my face would eventually aid in the demise of the time-tested blood wall.

It was a summer beam workout, meaning we could only be working on one thing: series. I had been trying to get my handspring layout down on the floor beam, but I didn’t feel quite confident enough to move up yet. Good thing, too, when one of my passes wasn’t aligned with the beam, ending in me undercutting my layout and landing straight on my face. Hard.

Still dizzy but thankfully seeing no stars as I stood back up, I was not surprised to feel a trickle of blood making its way from my nose.

That beam must have really done a number on me, because ten minutes later, that trickle showed no sign of stopping. No matter, right? Unless I died of blood loss, all that meant was I had more art supplied for the blood wall. At that point, I had gone through countless napkins, and decided to put them to good use.

Balling them up in one fist, I used the bloodied mass to smear my name across the wall in colossal, five-inch letters. Twice. Still having some left over dampness on the paper towel, I completed my piece with two vertical stripes and one massive bloody nose-shaped squiggle. I looked over what had become my magnum opus with pride, then went back to beam, thinking nothing of it.

IMG_0401 Pretty gnarly, huh?

Months passed.  Though I was unaware of this at the time, it seems that during those months our humble little blood wall began to get some attention… from the parents.

“Coach, what are all those little drawing on the far wall?”

Oops. Worse, still:

“Coach, who is Dee and why is her name written on the wall in red paint?”

Red paint, yes, that’s what it was!

Anyway, summer training ended, and the compulsory competitive season was almost upon us. That meant that the season of hosting meets was also nigh. And, between the recent scrutiny of some apparently very observant parents and the meet season, we decided to pull the plug on the whole operation.

Though it pains me to say this, it was time to paint over the blood wall. The masterpiece of the competitive team that we had put our blood, s— well, no sweat or tears, but plenty of blood—into was gone just like that.

And though it may be gone now, my teammates, my coach, some mentally scarred children, nor I will ever forget the blood-curdling tradition of the blood wall.


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