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Little Girls in Pretty Boxes

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Ingymmom

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Jul 12, 2007
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movie is from 97

Here is a teaser of the book by Joan Ryan

http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/0446676829/ref=sib_fs_top/002-3003920-7076823?ie=UTF8&p=S00V&checkSum=RJcHlN19TNhH9TqUV8vvp4Xg0JxaQXYFlnN2ZsxR8Dk%3D#

I was hooked and could not put it down when I read it... it was a very disturbing read for me, thankfully, and I highly recommend this - I immediately read "Letters to a Young Gymnast" right after by Nadia. I realized then that not all was at it seems and there were a lot of things said for shock value (use of bogwoppits words) in the gymnastics world.
 
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bogwoppit

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love the intro to the crazy gym moms lol... actually that stuff DOES still happen. One of our moms of a L9 got assaulted in the parking lot one day by a "crazed" mother (her dd was L8 at the time) because her dd got a trick before crazy mom's dd did.[/quote]


Now that is incredible:eek: Here's a funny one I was talking to my girls about last night. When oldest DD was 6 she did her first comp, she was barely ready on bars but everything else was good. On bars she got a 3.45, she fell off 3 times trying to do her squat on. Anyway another girl from our gym went on bars next and got 2.5, her parents were so mad that my DD beat her that they went up and started shouting at the bar judges, our coach was absolutely gobsmacked and had to drag them off and then apologise profusely. This was a small regional comp and both girls were 6, it was, and is, the most bizarre thing I ever saw at a comp.
 

Marge Simpson

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Sep 27, 2007
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Oh, this is not good...I am also a junkie and will be checking back later tonight to see if the next part is up.

And I am slightly ashamed to admit that I am mentally giving the girls and crazed parents names--including me!-- that correspond to DD's gym community. I'm also speculating that Dana's mom's bag includes a flask.

At least the movie provides a mental checklist via archetype of parental behaviors to avoid! Anti-inflammatories, anyone?
 

maddiekate

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Aug 8, 2007
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I think i'm guilty of the anti-inflammatory. My bag has sudafed, excedrin, and tylenol. Granted, i get headaches and migraines all the time, though.
 

Aussie_coach

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It has been on TV here many times and I have it on DVD also. I really don't think it is an exageration of the way elite girls train. Our elite girls have a very similar situation. At that age (she is 14) they train 35-40 hours week. They do 3-4 hours in the morning then head to school for a few hours and do a few subjects and then in the afternoon train another 3-4 hours every day.

Our elites are given regular skin fold tests to check their body fat and told what they should and should not be eating. At any given time the majority of them carry some sort of injury be it minor or major. They are yelled at if they are too scared to perform skills in order to motivate them to try.

If they do not learn skills fast enough, if they grow too tall, if they don't show enough comittment, if they turn out not to be strong enough they are thrown out of the program. They may return to regular gyms and continue to train and compete at a lower level but most walk away from the sport and never return.

They must learn certain skills by a certain age or they are thrown out. But, having said that very few feel they are mistreated. Most desperatly love what they do and do put up with pain and fat tests and pressure because they want this more than anything else in the world. Just to make it to this level means you have to have incredible desire and drive. These girls take it in their stride.
 

bogwoppit

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Ah, thank goodness I have seen it all now. Love the sloppy ending, I am not sure most teenage girls would forgive that quickly, but it was a good "hallmark" moment.

THis is always a good moral......

"Remember who the parent is, and why!" It is not the coaches job, it is always ours.

Now, I can go back and have a life again!:D
 

PeaceLoveGymnastic

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Jan 12, 2008
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This movie made me SO MAD!!!!!!!! GRRRRRR!!!!!! it makes gymnastics seem immpossible and crazy (which it is..) but really, it was a little to extreme. i mean, really, how many kids actually take pane pills every night and loose that much weight? its awful that now people who see that movie will think all gymnastics is like that.
 
A

ABecker755

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Ruled out her being a future elite already? :) Don't worry TOO much about money, it could be a lot but that is a long ways off. One of my friends is the mom of an elite and her "out of pocket" is a lot less than the 11k figure mentioned in this thread and I don't know ANYONE who got close to the 30 grand! :)

-AB
 
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ABecker755

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This movie made me SO MAD!!!!!!!! GRRRRRR!!!!!! it makes gymnastics seem immpossible and crazy (which it is..) but really, it was a little to extreme. i mean, really, how many kids actually take pane pills every night and loose that much weight? its awful that now people who see that movie will think all gymnastics is like that.
"Gym-bashing" movies bother me too! Are there bad/abusive coaches out of the tens of thousands of gym coaches? Yes.

Do 99% of coaches love their gymnasts almost like their own children and put their health and safety first? Yes, but that doesn't make for an interesting documentary film! :mad:

Are there other sports that have some abusive coaches? Yes! (Amateur wrestling comes to mind, there are some horrible methods used to "make weight" for competitions). Yet strangely, no movies about those either, that I have found!

Why just pick on gym? :confused:

-AB
 

gymnomore

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Aug 3, 2007
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When I saw that movie many years ago, I never would have thought that any of this was true. I too, felt like all gymnastics coaches were loving, caring people, and yes, most of them are. Of course, the movie is exagerated, but the verbal and physical abuse of young gymnasts is an issue and it's out there more than we like to believe. I've been around for a while and I've seen young ten year old gymnasts berated and humilated, and I've seen girls made to feel inadequate because of their weight. I've heard enough negative comments made toward children to write a book. Worst of all, I've seen several gymnasts being forced to work through injuries. As parents, we want the best coaching for our kids and we sometimes ignore the red flags. I myself have given my dd way too many painkillers just to get through practices. Now I look back and I can't believe I let it get to that point. So, even though the movie is a bit over the top, it brings up some very real issues that parents need to watch out for. Yes, the sport is expensive, even at the JO level, and we don't even realize it until we get sucked in. Yes, it consumes a child's life as well as changes the lifestyle of the whole family. Hopefully those of you reading this have loving and caring coaches for your children. We do now, thank goodness. And, I'm absolutely sure that coaches on this site are wonderful and are doing it with the very best of intentions. But, there are some coaches out there that bring out the media frenzy on mistreated gymnasts. Read the book- it's a good read. I've read it several times and get a little more out of it each time. It certainly brings an awareness to what elite level gymnasts sacrifice to gain success in this sport. It also gives a take on how far the USAG has come in keeping young girls healthier and safer than they once were.
 
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gracefulone

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The USAG has gone very far since the book was published, and that fact was alluded to at the end of the book. It's a fascinating read and doesn't just pick on gym; ice skating is a huge part of it too.

I also agree that many things could be said about wrestling. There was an episode on it on Degrasssi:The Next Generation (pretty sure it was that incarnation of Degrassi). I know some wrestlers at my hs and they train super hard, often not eating hardly anything "in season". That's dangerous.
 
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cccam

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Dec 1, 2007
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It has been on TV here many times and I have it on DVD also. I really don't think it is an exageration of the way elite girls train. Our elite girls have a very similar situation. At that age (she is 14) they train 35-40 hours week. They do 3-4 hours in the morning then head to school for a few hours and do a few subjects and then in the afternoon train another 3-4 hours every day.

Our elites are given regular skin fold tests to check their body fat and told what they should and should not be eating. At any given time the majority of them carry some sort of injury be it minor or major. They are yelled at if they are too scared to perform skills in order to motivate them to try.

If they do not learn skills fast enough, if they grow too tall, if they don't show enough comittment, if they turn out not to be strong enough they are thrown out of the program. They may return to regular gyms and continue to train and compete at a lower level but most walk away from the sport and never return.

They must learn certain skills by a certain age or they are thrown out. But, having said that very few feel they are mistreated. Most desperatly love what they do and do put up with pain and fat tests and pressure because they want this more than anything else in the world. Just to make it to this level means you have to have incredible desire and drive. These girls take it in their stride.
to tell you the truth, i love gymnastics so much i probably would put up with all of that, but i don't like it when people discrimminate by height in the gymnastics world. everyone never shuts up about the fact that im tall. thats why they won't let me be on the team at my gym. but thats okay, because if they're going to do that just because im tall, then i don't want to be on their team. other than that i have to say, i like this movie very much, besides the fact that it is very "made-for-TV-movie-ish"
 

gymgymgymnast08

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to tell you the truth, i love gymnastics so much i probably would put up with all of that, but i don't like it when people discrimminate by height in the gymnastics world. everyone never shuts up about the fact that im tall. thats why they won't let me be on the team at my gym. but thats okay, because if they're going to do that just because im tall, then i don't want to be on their team. other than that i have to say, i like this movie very much, besides the fact that it is very "made-for-TV-movie-ish"

they won't let you be on the team because you are tall? Go to another gym! They can't do that! Some of the best gymnasts are tall!
 

Aussie_coach

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I am a little shocked that they would not let you be on the team due to being too tall. Our elite centre's do not accept children who are too tall and they do not accept children whose parents are too tall for fear the children will grow too tall. But these centre's are designed for training gymnasts to one day represent the country at international competitions (not many tall elites, people though Svetlana Khorkina was tall but she is only of average height 5"4').

But team gymnastics and gymnastics competitions should be for everyone who is willing to put in the hard work. It should be based on your skills and not your height. The aim of team gymnastics is not to make you the best in the country but to make you the best you can be. I would look for another gym.
 

CoachL

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Apr 9, 2007
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not too be jerk...but maybe thats what Australia hasn't done very well internationally in the past....too picky? I had some Australian Juniors in my rotation a few years ago at the Maccabe Games and I wasn't impressed at all.

nd they do not accept children whose parents are too tall for fear the children will grow too tall
that's one of the silliest things I have ever read in my entire life.
 
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