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"Chalked Up" by Jennifer Sey

Is Jennifer Sey telling the truth?

  • Yes

    Votes: 5 21.7%
  • No...she is out to get the sport of gymnastics.

    Votes: 2 8.7%
  • No...but she truely believes that she is.

    Votes: 7 30.4%
  • Here we go again, more Parkettes drama.

    Votes: 9 39.1%

  • Total voters
    23
  • Poll closed .
Status
Not open for further replies.

Indiana

New Member
Apr 26, 2008
21
Australia
Funnily enough, my big brother called me 2 days ago (he forgot my birthday which was a few weeks ago now) and told me he had ordered me this gymnastics book off eBay as a late birthday present. So it will be interesting to see what it's like. I'll let everyone know.
 
K

krazykidzmom

Guest
I bought it. What I find interesting about it so far is that we are around the same age(okay I am a little older) so she speaks of similar experiences in our childhoods. I saw her interviewed on a morning show. She seems extremely bright. It concerns me as a parent that because of all of the time spent in the gym is my daughter primarily going to have these memories? The eating disorder subject is not a problem now, but I sure can see how it could be. Alot to think about.......
 

MdGymMom01

Active Member
Mar 5, 2008
2,236
North America
I picked up a copy of the book last night and started reading it. I think that some of gymnastics has changed over the years for the better. Although my daughter just started gymnastics I often wonder what it will be like for her when she advances and gets older and gymnastics becomes more competitive. I think the bottom line is that us parents need to keep everything in perspective when it comes to their kids and their activities. It is very easy to get caught up in the competitiveness and drama of sport (I am having my daughter take a break from All Star Cheer right now because of all the drama that is involved with it). There is a point where you have to step back and say "Is all this healthy for my kid? What is my child learning from all this and is she happy and still having fun?" I understand that at the elite level it is more of a job then fun, but what price are you paying all along to get to the elite level? I think the key is to have realistic expectations and always try to strike a balance with their lives. Afterall, we are the parents so we need to always have their best interest's at heart. Ok, I'll get off my soapbox now!!!
 

jls1969

Member
Sep 27, 2007
105
I have read it and I found it interesting that her parents appeared to be informed about her gymnastics, but they really had no clue what it was like. It gave me insight to know what type of questions to ask as my daughter gets older. I don't find the competitive aspect to be much of a problem, since my continual prayer is for my gymnast to want to quit, but I know of some parents who do get themselves too wrapped up in it. We too are at a very competitive gym and there are elite girls, one who is possibly going to the Olympics---and while our coaches seem stern, they also seem very level headed at this point. I think if a parent gets a goal in their head for their gymnast and it doesn't match the gymnast's goal, then there is the problem. As far as the stress and eating disorder situation, Jennifer seemed to me the type of child that would have gotten caught up in any sport in the same way. She was very driven, a perfectionist and hard on herself. My daughter seems to have some of those traits, but not to the extreme Jennifer did. I found it to be a depressing and challenging book as the parent of a gymnast, but also grateful for some of the insight it provided. It is a great book for the parent of a child who is on the elite path to gymnastics.

I would also be interested to talk to someone who has their child at Parkettes---this book did not put this gym in a very favorable light, and after the CNN story, I would be concerned. I know not all gyms are as they seem, and I am sure if our gym was profiled, it would not be all positive as well. But, as the parent of a gymnast at another high powered gym, it would be interesting to see how the younger girls start off with that coaching. All in all--I think it was an interesting book with a great insight to elite gymnastics--however, I did not let my gymnast read it.

Can't wait to hear what other people said...
 

lannamavity

Member
Sep 13, 2007
409
way out West
I feel half-way bad saying this...especially since I haven't read the book.

But I think it is ironic that Sey was probably the winner of the worst USA Championships ever. Then she drifted into obscurity.

I still remember watching 86 USAs, wondering how US gymnastics got that bad since the 84 Olympics. Everyone was awful. The commentators couldn't even get excited about Sey's performance.

I don't think USAG even posts the results in their archives.

And now she's back...with a book. It's right before the Olympics and right in the middle of USAG being thrust into the media spotlight for allegedly harboring child abusers.

I have nothing against her personally, but she came from Parkettes and the coaches were abusive. And...tell us something we don't know.

I just say this because I would hate to think that people would read her story as if she was this super athlete who overcame her horrible coaching and rose to be a shining star in the gymnastics world. She was in the right place at the right time (a short time)...and her coaches did get her there.

I may read the book...just to give her a chance...but the first thing I thought of when I heard that a new dramatic gymnastics biography was coming out, I thought, "Oh...HER??? How dramatic can that be?"

(PS. This in no way suggests that I have any love for the staff at Parkettes):eek:
 
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lannamavity

Member
Sep 13, 2007
409
way out West
Okay...I read some of the excerpts, and have decided not to read the book...

She's out to get gymnastics back in some sick way.

Why else would she compare judges to "homeless people"?


"I'm waiting for the judge to raise her arm and nod her head, signaling to me that it's my turn. Her polyester royal blue suit with the crest makes her appear pathetically regal, like a homeless woman who used to be a traffic cop, still wearing her uniform with faded pride. Glory days. "

Does she have an editor who could have helped her find a less awkward or offensive comparison?

The majority of judges practically donate their time because they love gymnastics and kids...and this is how she depicts them. Bitter.

Further down she talks about the "elusive 10.0" which few gymnasts received since Nadia.

Um...Sey competed at a time when there were LOADS of 10.0s at internatinal competitions...and even at previous USA's. We're talking from 1984 to 1992. She makes it sounds like gymnastics got really, really hard while she did it.

Maybe what she meant was "elusive to gymnasts like me" who dreamed of a 10.0 start value.

And what's up with Hope Spivey and her "shame" at falling off the beam? How does she know? All that she really knows is that she sure was lucky that Spivey fell.

Way overly dramatic. :melodramatic:

Pathetic. I'm really shocked that there isn't more outcry from the gymnastics community.
:vomit:
 
B

Billy

Guest
And what's up with Hope Spivey and her "shame" at falling off the beam? How does she know? All that she really knows is that she sure was lucky that Spivey fell.

I wasn't into gymnastics back then. What's the story with her and Hope Spivey?
 

bogwoppit

Former Admin
Coach
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Feb 26, 2007
16,506
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This book has provoked a lot of chat on other boards. The following is from Rick McCharles's extensive gym blog site.

Gymnastics Coaching Blog Archive is ex-gymnast author Jennifer Sey a liar?

GGMB (gym gossip board) has had a lot to say about it, can't post the link as it's members only and a lot of what was said is not for tender ears.

Obviously this book is being released at a time when it would have the most impact, as in sell a lot of books. I won't be buying it, but I would read it from the library.
 

Livinatthegym

Member
Feb 4, 2008
204
Region IV
Read it. Not particulary well-written (but then I am kind of a literary snob!). What I enjoyed about the book was that Sey did not indict the sport of gymnastics. She gives "credit" for many of the abuses she suffered to her own inherent personality traits. Nobody pushed her harder than she pushed herself.

I also found it interesting that Sey was competing during the rise of the pixies, the time when gymnasts were getting younger and smaller. Suzzanne Yoculan's book, Perfect 10, talks about athletes getting better and stronger in college with fewer practice hours than elite training typically entails. Sey shows us how USAG repeatedly targets younger and younger girls for more intense training, damaging quite a few in the process. The irony, of course, is that those older girls of the NCAA are those who survived years of extensive training in USAG.
 

MtnGymMom

New Member
May 5, 2008
13
Rocky Mountain West
I just heard about this book a couple days ago. I found this interview on Salon.com:

Interview with Jennifer Sey, "Chalked Up" | Salon Life

There was also a book review on Amazon that called in "Gymnastics' version of a Million Little Pieces." The interview linked above makes me think the reviewer is correct.

My initial reaction is that the book is greatly dramatized. The exerpt linked by the OP has many examples of this- judges as homeless people? The whole Hope Spivey falling off beam drama?

I was an athlete pretty close to the time Jennifer was (OK, I'm a little older...) but one of the people she accuses of ***ual abuse was one of my coaches. A more unlikely suspect you will never find.

On the other hand, I do think elite gymnastics is too much for many kids to handle. I was pretty bitter about my experience for a long time. But in retrospect, I would not change a thing about my gymnastics career, and I still love the sport. I think parents and coaches should read books like this, just to keep them on the right track. I will get it from the library.
 

Ingymmom

Active Member
Jul 12, 2007
981
I have also read/heard the controversy surrounding j. Sey's book. I am curious to read the book, but will wait until I can pick it up at the library or borrow it - I won't run out & purchase it, because I agree that she is clearly trying to cash in, and has a huge chip on her shoulder. I still love all of these ultra dramatic book/films/movies/docudramas surrounding gymnastics so I want to eventually read it. You certainly have to take it all with a grain of salt.

The fact that she is releasing it now proves she is trying to take some sort of vengeance on the sport... It was no secret that she stopped training at Parkettes because of coaching issues - although she sure stayed there a long time for someone that did not mesh well with her coaches. But, she was not as successful after leaving Parkettes. I wonder for those that have read it, does she talk about her move to Will-Moor? (Where National Team member Darlene Hill currently trains).

Ironically, because of her femur injury she was the reason that coaches are allowed to stand by the gymnasts as they compete - a great change in the rules as far as I am concerned.
 

MtnGymMom

New Member
May 5, 2008
13
Rocky Mountain West
What was the drama? Gymnasts fall off the beam all the time.
Exactly my point. In the book exerpt on the NPR link, Hope Spivey falling of beam is greatly dramatized (in my opinion.)

Falling off beam at National Championships is a bigger deal than usual- I've done it- but still not as big a drama as written.
 
B

Billy

Guest
Wow. The way it was written, I thought there was some big rivalry between them or something.
 

Livinatthegym

Member
Feb 4, 2008
204
Region IV
The fact that she is releasing it now proves she is trying to take some sort of vengeance on the sport... It was no secret that she stopped training at Parkettes because of coaching issues - although she sure stayed there a long time for someone that did not mesh well with her coaches. But, she was not as successful after leaving Parkettes. I wonder for those that have read it, does she talk about her move to Will-Moor? (Where National Team member Darlene Hill currently trains). .
I wouldn't read author's intent into a release date for the book. Release dates would be determined by the publisher, not the author. I doubt Sey had any control over it whatsoever.

She has very positive things to say about Will-Moor.
 

Ingymmom

Active Member
Jul 12, 2007
981
I wouldn't read author's intent into a release date for the book. Release dates would be determined by the publisher, not the author. I doubt Sey had any control over it whatsoever.

She has very positive things to say about Will-Moor.

As Jen Sey is the director of consumer marketing for Levi's, & was named as one of the "Top 40 marketer under 40" in 2006, I believe J. Sey certainly had an idea of when she would want it to be released. She knew EXACTLY what she was doing... $cha-ching$
 
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lannamavity

Member
Sep 13, 2007
409
way out West
Wow. The way it was written, I thought there was some big rivalry between them or something.
Spivey had WAY more ability than Sey...and they came from the same gym. Spivey went on to have far more success internationally than Sey, and she also went on to be an awesome college gymnast.

What annoys me is how Sey presumes to know what Spivey was thinking during and after that routine. The shame would have come from losing to Sey!

And, by the way...I don't know where that story came up about the "change of rules" for Tkachevs...but I think that one is a pile of crap as well.

Sey's injury couldn't have been avoided by a spot...she landed on her butt on the bar and fell straight down backwards! The spot was allowed to keep kids from missing the Tkachev and hitting their head/neck and back on the low bar. What does that have to do with Sey's crash? There is no way a spot could have saved that kid from that horrible Tkachev.

Lots of kids were hurt both before and after that doing Tkachevs. Where is it said that her particular fall "changed the rules?" Are we sure it was her Tkachev and not a million Jaegers to the head and Geingers to body-slam on the mat? I'm not convinced that this incident and the rule change were in any way related.
 
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