GymMapStics

Traveling the world one gymnastics meet at a time

8 People You Sit Next To At Gymnastics Meets

GymMapStics has attended numerous international competitions over the past few years and has discovered a shocking similarity between the people she sits next to at meets! Here are the top eight types of people.

Gym Parents

Parents of gymnasts or gym nerds who are too young to attend the competition by themselves but too old to sit with their parents. The parents remain at the meet for both the spectacle of gymnastics and booze in a sippy cup. They cheer politely for their country’s gymnasts but do not catch onto mistakes the way gym nerds do and appear surprised when one gasps before anything detrimental occurs. The gym parents also generally do not appreciate someone dressed as the love child of Yankee Doodle and Uncle Sam screaming her head off for literally everyone during a World Championships team final event so they remain awkwardly silent for the entirety of the competition. 

Casual Fan Shocked By Everything

We can’t all devote all our time to watching gymnastics on YouTube, decoding the Code of Points, memorizing the routines of all gymnasts ever, and overananlyzing every social media post by every single gymnast! Some gymnastics fans have lives outside the sport that prevent them from soaking in every single tidbit about gymnastics at every point in time. Some people attend gymnastics meets with limited or zero knowledge of the sport and audibly express their excitement over skills that appear elementary to seasoned fans. The Casual Fan Shocked By Everything makes many endearing exclamations during simple skills such as whip backs and front giants that remind seasoned gym fans how cool gymnastics is to people who do not view it obsessively. The Casual Fans Shocked By Everything in Great Britain occasionally drop some impressive knowledge tid bits, such as the fact that Max Whitlock is an all arounder and that Louis Smith is a specialist.

The Talkative Know It All 

The Talkative Know It All can be found many places aside from gymnastics meets, such as the movie theater, Economics 101, and/or workplace sensitivity training. The Talkative Know It All speaks constantly, loudly, and with authority but frequently spews incorrect information. The Talkative Know It All attempts to impress people with his or her knowledge but actually annoys the crap out of everyone in the vicinity. The Talkative Know It All can be heard explaining how multiple layout steps outs on beam was a requirement in the Code of Points in the 90’s (it was not) or attempting to confirm that Kim Zmeskal-Burdette coaches Simone Biles (she does not). The Talkative Know It All may also complain incessantly that the American Cup format would make more sense if the women and men alternated, as opposed to the current “optimized for TV” format which features two mens events then the women begin competing. While this idea may have some merit, it does not do well to harp on it even after it has been explained that the competition must fit into a television slot and cannot be seventeen hours long. The Talkative Know It All is best ignored and left to talk and complain to his- or herself. 

The Hungover Zombie

Gymnastics meets happen in fun places and sometimes people like to go out and have fun in said places. Let’s not judge people for occasionally arriving at gymnastics meets reeking of booze, munching on carb filled bagel sandwiches, carrying electrolyte replenishing energy drinks, and wearing sunglasses even on dreary winter days. The Hungover Zombie usually does not contribute much to the conversation for fears she will regurgitate her bagel sandwich but she makes a better companion than the Talkative Know It All. 

Baby Gym Nerds

Baby gym nerds attend meets with their parents and spend a large portion of the meet explaining the esoteric aspects of the sport to said parents, such as why some music has vocals as an instrument or why one skill earns more deductions than another. They also know the names of each gymnast on every team as well as their best and worst events but have yet to learn the intricacies of the Code of Points. Baby gym nerds make excellent seat buddies as they remind old gym fans of the excitement of discovering and viewing the sport at a young age. 

Some Empty Seats

For some inexplicable reason, every single gymnastics competition in the world does not sell out and one may find oneself sitting alone in a sea of empty folding arena seats. One can use this opportunity to single along audibly to every song blasted throughout the arena or even create ones own lyrics and dance moves to instrumental tunes. 

The Swiss and their Cowbells

If one purchases a ticket roughly three hours prior to the commencement of a competition, one may find oneself next to the contingency of fans from Switzerland. These fans carry an abundance of flags and an abundance of cowbells, which they shake frantically whenever one of their country’s gymnasts mounts the podium. The extremely friendly Swiss may pass off the cowbell to you when a gymnast from your country competes and in return request that you assist in holding up an enormous Swiss flag and you are more than happy to oblige. The Swiss fans may also join in on cheering for one’s home country, although the cheering may simply be drunken garbled Swiss-German that one does not understand but appreciates nonetheless. 

Your Best Gymnastics Friend!

Gymnastics competitions provide an exciting opportunity for eavesdropping on other peoples’ conversations people watching when one attends a meet alone; however, viewing a competition with one’s Best Gymnastics Friend enhances the competition considerably. One does not have to explain the rules, points, deductions, order of events, or anything to one’s Best Gymnastics Friend. The Best Gymnastics Friend also spots minute details and comments on them in real time, which saves one the trouble of remembering to bring up someone’s hideous leotard in discussion later. Always appreciate sitting next to Your Best Gymnastics Friend!

Kerry Joyce • 02/01/2016


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