Anakana Schofield – Author of Martin John and Malarky

Another hand ripping night on The Rings! Aside from the vicious assault this apparatus is on the armpits, hands and shoulders, it is a superb way to waste my time and a most unbecoming manner for an almost forty year old woman to hurl herself about each Wednesday.

But oh the progress. Aside from one disastrous entanglement between the two rope things which sent me whipping around like a demented, just shot, duck as I thought Christ I will never get down from here nor see the daylight again. I even managed to do the put your legs over your head thing from swinging and there I was hanging there, utterly amazed, pleading with the man beside me, er now what the hell do I do? Since I assumed I hadn’t done the move yet. You’re already there, says he. I confess I was quite terrified and again after an acceptable period said erm how the hell do I get down…

He’s terribly patient that particular coach. Otherwise my tutelage comes from one of the other young gymnast’s who is ace and shows me all these techniques that I am then unable to fully employ.

I was also learning front somersaults (front tuck?) on the trampoline, bounce, bounce up you go turn in air and wham onto this stack of mats, except the bounces and counting threw me & landing in that mad foam pit didn’t suit me. It is extremely torturous trying to get out of said pit when your legs are short and so I retired. I think I am not a woman for turning somersaults at this moment.

The back flip I am doing in threes on the tumbling tramp. At least one in every three is an epic fail. And one is just dandy. What’s interesting is the epic fail should come on the final one where you’re tired, but no the epic fail comes at any point in the sequence, which very annoying. And the epic fail always follows the really strong one. So much for momentum. And the problem with the epic fail is it absolutely rips the shoulders and arms of you. And that alone should teach one to throw it and land it properly. And it does not. And that is why it is an epic fail.

We are so tired today that I cannot imagine what we did to achieve this fatigue. Ferry fatigue? Gardening repair exhaustion?

Off the ferry from our lovely family time on Cortes, I headed straight to my gymnastics class powered by a flask of Bewleys tea (Go raibh mile Ita). One of the fellas told me he thinks I’ll be able to do the pull up on the rings within two weeks. I think that is an extremely generous assessment, but another guy taught me some of the basic circles and swings to build shoulder strength. Unfortunately he decided to demonstrate this while I was stood on a box right beside him swinging and turning and he crashed into me several times and my toe still has muscle memory from the impact.

Rings are, 72 hours after the fact, very hard on the armpits. You feel the simple act of walking in the armpit region!