Behind the Scenes: A Tongue-in-Cheek Look at Women's Gymnastics

A Tongue-in-Cheek Look at Women's Gymnastics OR What My Dad Always Wondered About My Sport

Michigan women's gymnastics junior Maureen Moody (East Lansing, Mich./East Lansing) has been a gymnast all her life and she's been asked a lot of questions about the sport. Some questions have been technical (how do you execute your khorkina on bars) and some are a little more aesthetic. Mo offers this tongue-in-cheek expose to answer a lot of questions gymnasts get asked over the course of their careers.

All season long, Mo will give fans a behind-the-scenes look at the U-M gymnastics program as it marches towards Lincoln, Neb., and the NCAA Championships in April.

For this installment of "Behind the Scenes", I was urged to branch out from my usual format and talk more about life outside gymnastics. It is difficult to avoid the topic completely and I am resisting the temptation to chronicle our nail-bitingly close victory over Penn State this past weekend. Following my dad's advice about what to discuss in this blog, I am going to answer some questions he has had about gymnastics over the years.

My dad has been puzzled by why gymnastics is a sport that gives more hugs than high fives. He compared it to his favorite sport, baseball.

"If gymnasts played baseball, would they offer a player they just struck out a hug he wonders.

To this question, I answer yes. The player would get a hug as long as there was no trash talking while leaving the batter's box. Upon reflection, I think a major incentive gymnasts have to give hugs instead of high fives is their manicured hands, which we like to maintain. In an attempt to protect our nails, we gymnasts choose hugs over high fives. (Ed. Note: A drawback of hugs is all the chalk. Have you seen the back of a coach's black shirt after a meet)

Another aspect of gymnastics my dad always wondered about was a gymnast's hand placement during floor and beam routines. He wondered why all the athletes' fingers had to be pushed back and separated in a certain style. When I was a young competitor, my dad teased me by encouraging me to do Spock's hand gesture from Star Trek instead of the traditional gymnastics hands. I never took his advice, but now I am wondering what Bev would think if we tried it out at the next home meet. After all, this obviously has to do with nails too. Pushing the hands back and separating them shows off the fingers and gives gymnasts an opportunity to show off the manicured nails!

Even though it does not have to do with nails, one last dimension of the sport my dad questioned was the use of hair scrunchies. What is their purpose and why does each leotard need a different scrunchie Again, it's all about appearance. What better way to show off fancy hair braids than a shiny accessory to tie it all together and complete the look

Dad, I hope I have finally answered your burning questions about gymnastics and given you a chuckle as I poke fun at our sport.

Until next time, wish us luck against the Utes and Go Blue!

»  Learn about 2017 Michigan women's gymnastics ticket opportunities.