A random girl's random gymnastics ramblings.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

i'm so sorry. i fully understand if you want to beat me up. just avoid my nose.

Ladies and gentlemen, today's topic is a little something I like to call


Etiquette (pronounced [,eti'ket])- a code of behavior that delineates expectations for social behavior according to contemporary conventional norms within a society, social class, or group.

Internetiquette- doing that on the internet.

Seriously.  What is it about big meets that just brings the freakshow out of gym fans?  Things tend to calm down a bit, and become more civil between meets.  But then you have a weekend with both Euros and Pac, and it's like, people lose their shiz over it!

Message boards, in general, can be a scary place.  In theory, they are places to gather, and politely discuss common interests.

In reality, they're terrifying.  I remember being thrilled when I first found a gym board, back in 2005.  None of my real life friends gave a crap about gymnastics, so the idea of discussing my favorite sport with other fans was really enticing to me.

Until I realized how MEAN PEOPLE ARE.

Holy balls, you guys, it's gymnastics!  On what planet can you justify just tearing other people apart for daring to like a gymnast?  You're not 100% up to speed with the current code and all of its rules and deductions?  You're fucking stupid.  You happen to like a B-team gymnast who doesn't win medals every day?  Good luck with those D-scores, chump.

Just the veracity and hate that some people write with blows my mind.  I always thought you were a fan of something because you LIKED that thing.  These people seem to ultimately hate gymnastics.  Focus is solely on deductions, lack of artistry, and fugly toes.  No one ever says anything good about anyone.

I think it's cool to share your opinion.  You likes what you likes.  No one's going to change that.  But it is not a DISCUSSION when you instantly shoot down other people's opinions. 

Message boards are a hotbed for this kind of behavior.  These posters, and I have to believe that they are not entirely socially adjusted, hide behind their computer screens and just trash what anyone else has to say.  Trashing opinions.  If I'm wrong about a score or deduction, then by all means, correct me.  I'll be the first to admit that I am no code guru.  But I am not "wrong" for liking a gymnast that you don't care for.

I thank Madonna every day that I wasn't active on any boards during 2008.  I was blissfully unaware that there was anything known as "Nastia vs. Shawn." 

I happily rooted for both girls, appreciating them both for their fine gymnastics.  It wasn't until later, when I joined a new board, that I realized that I had committed a cardinal sin: I liked both Shawn AND Nastia.

Since then, I have realized that the internet is full of HATE.  We seemingly exist just to criticize gymnastics.  Bent knees, flexed wrists, too posey, dead hangs, flingy layout, low chest, fat butt.  Yes, all of these things are bad, but why don't we ever stop and point out "WOW.  That was really nice to watch.  Good job."

I'm not suggesting we get all Stick It and pretend that deductions don't exist.  This sport is meant to be judged.  But it is exhausting to read over and over all of these horrible, negative things about a sport that we're supposed to like.

So you disagree with another poster on the internet.  I'm cool with that.  However, it is the way that difference is expressed that grinds my gears.

Have some fucking common courtesy.  Do not berate, or talk down to someone just because they have different tastes.  If it is a technical issue, such as a code score, do not flip your shit if someone else gets it wrong.  Calmly explain to them the correction.  And then, who knows, someone might actually learn something. 

This goes back to my rant about Youtube judges.  Don't watch three videos, read the comments, and then go online and freak out at everyone who doesn't know what bonus D+D+C gets.

I don't know why I'm ranting about this.  I feel as though this weekend has really brought out the worst in people.  Like, is it not OK just to enjoy the gymnasts?  Watch a routine without writing a 6 page dissertation about ALLLLLLLL of the deductions?  Compliment a certain gymnast without having to fight to the death with everyone else?

If I'm a coach, or a parent of a gymnast, I FORBID my girls to ever get on these boards.

So people, can we act as if we're actually FANS of the sport?  Or are we doomed to forever use the internet as some douchey mask for our deep, severely troubled personal issues?


  1. I avoid comments as much as I can. Especially YouTube.

    It's so hilariously illogical to criticize Nastia. If the hater is so smart, why didn't they coach an Olympic Champion?

    Gymnastics is more the problem than the internet. I'm immersed in the HIKING blogosphere too. There are no haters there. You either like hiking. Or ignore it.

  2. PolyisTCOandbannedMay 2, 2010 at 12:36 PM

    Most of the internetz is like this. The Gymternet has its own passive-aggressive traits to it though. I admit to being part of the problem although I feel the need to man the barricades against Nastia loverz. A good thing that my "Internet balls" are so big. And that even for a little guy, am not in much physical danger from the average gym fan...

  3. I think that every competitive sport or activity invites armchair quarterbacking (or in the case of gymnastics armchair coaching/choreographing/skill composition)

    I don't think it's fair to say that "if you can't do a double pike you have no right to criticize mine" or something to that nature. A sport needs its fans to survive (and goodness knows elite gymnastics is struggling to keep its fan base going) and part of the fan experience is to voice opinions. I agree it can get nasty and I agree that it can feel wrong to be as critical of teenage athletes vs adults (especially when people start talking about who is overweight. Especially since an overweight gymnast is probably still like a size 4.)

    If you follow skating the war between Mao Asada and Kim Yu-na fans was epic, it was Nastia vs Shawn, Kim vs Shannon, Carly vs Khorkina to the 1000th degree. (a lot of it having to do with age old rivalry between Japan and Korea)

  4. Agreed. But seriously gymnastic blogs hating NOTHING compared to the things said on political blogs, especially during an election year. I dont know how you could say something like that about another human being. Makes the very worst thing said on gym blogs look tame.

  5. Stop trying to one-up me, couch gymnast. ;)

  6. PolyisTCOandbannedMay 8, 2010 at 12:45 AM

    Couchie deleted a post of mine. I wasn't even trolling (much). And then she used insights from my post to edit her own post and not even put that she had done so. Bad Couchie!

  7. This was an important post. Personally I have SOME criticism against some gymnasts, but I try to never just unload on them in public. The way I see it, no matter WHO they are, they're doing shit I couldn't do to save my ass. In my own personal environment (my website) I limit my "whipping" girls to no more than two at a time. The rest I support, even though it may be humorously.

    I hope all gym commenters read your post and realize it's not about fighting. It's about loving and being part of a big team.

    (But if I ever find out Lilia Podkopayeva joined the team, I'm off it.)