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Forum | Published Dec. 4, 2013 | 0 comments

Column: The whiplash debacle of 2011

Taylor Wanbaugh

Published as a part of Maneater v. 80, Issue 15

The opinions expressed by The Maneater columnists do not represent the opinions of The Maneater editorial board.

In which our fierce heroine confirms a gymnastics career isn’t in the cards.

It’s finals week, y’all. And I’m finding myself stressed to the max. I hate tests. Absolutely hate them. I actually have two finals on the same day only 30 minutes apart.

My friend and I always joked that if we ever dropped out of college, we would start our own cat training program and have a cat circus. Even though I am terrified of cats, the idea is becoming more and more appetizing.

This part of college almost makes me miss high school. Almost. I can say wholeheartedly, though, there will always be one aspect of high school I will never ever miss in the slightest: gym class.

My school was absolutely nuts about our gym classes. While most schools have gym classes where you spend the whole time goofing off with your friends, our gym classes entailed wearing heart rate monitors and getting 30 minutes “in our zone” (with your heart rate at a certain level) every single day.

Yep, that’s right, we were required to take gym all four years of high school, and gym was five days a week. You do the math.

Our activities ranged from a swimming unit (good luck if you don’t know how to swim) to the esteemed CrossFit program (I honestly thought I had a heart attack at least three times during this unit).

For me, the worst unit had to be gymnastics. Like swimming, gymnastics is one of those sports you either know how to do, or you fail miserably. When it comes to me, it’s the latter. I seriously can’t even do a front somersault. My teacher tried to make me do one during class, and it basically went like this: me crouching in wait trying to will myself to flip over; my gym teacher snatching my legs from underneath me and propelling them painfully over my head; me nearly breaking my neck and landing in the fetal position.

One fateful gym class, my teacher decided we would do something “fun” (this is never a good sign). She set up a gymnastics obstacle course, complete with those foam things you somersault down if you’re six years old (or me) and a small, tilted trampoline gymnasts use to get on those horse things. My entire gym class ran in a line to complete the obstacle course.

Luckily, I had two or three of my really good friends in the class with me, so it wasn’t usually totally unbearable. I was first in the line, by some unlucky twist of fate, and my friends were right behind me. We were goofing off, over-exaggerating all of our movements trying to get each other to laugh.

I finally came upon the trampoline. I decided I was going to make this huge leap off the trampoline in a mockingly graceful ballerina move, and I took off with a running start. However, I miscalculated a few factors. First off, I didn’t realize my socks would cause my feet to slip under me as soon as I hit the trampoline. Second, I didn’t know just how bouncy this trampoline really was. Third, I didn’t realize how big of an effect the angle of the trampoline would have on my jump’s direction.

I hit the trampoline, flew about six feet in the air in a completely horizontal position, and was flung in the complete opposite direction from what I had originally intended. I came down from my six-foot plummet in a total faceplant, my hands too slow to stop the full force of the floor from meeting my face.

I lay there for a second, the room completely silent. As I slowly looked up, my silver metal headband fell around my teeth, giving the impression of some wicked headgear. Then my ever-supportive friends Katy and Calley started laughing hysterically, and the whole room followed suit. I think Calley might have even peed her pants a little.

If you are feeling stressed about finals, just put it into perspective. It could be much, much worse. At least you won’t have to sit out of gym class for the next week because you gave yourself whiplash.

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