(Disclaimer: I know nothing about gymnastics. I have never done a lick of gymnastics. This is all just me looking around and observing. You know, that's how I roll.)
Last week I sat at gymnastics. This year, instead of freezing our little toes off at soccer, we put the boys in gymnastics. As the unsportiest of the unsporty, I am happy as a clam. Anyhow, there I was, sitting inside the lobby at gymnastics (no cold wind, no rain), reading a book while Sterling wandered around licking walls and such. I glanced upward to the gymnastics room, where I couldn't see the boys at all, and watched as a coach trained a girl on the bars. After a few moments watching it became apparent that they were working on falling. Over and over again, working on falling. And it occurred to me, from the girl's age and ability, that this was one of the skills they taught first.
How to fall.
Because, honestly, how can you teach big tricks and skills if a gymnast doesn't know how to fall without getting injured? It was one of those flashing moments where you realize why God lets real life happen to us. Why he lets reality be part of our lives. Because it is so important to learn how to fall properly.
Later, one of the coaches spoke with the girls in the lobby.
"And if you fall," she said, "then what do you do?"
She answered for them.
"You hug yourself. Arms tight around yourself. DON'T let your arms flail outward! That's how you get hurt."
And I thought of their insistence on falling properly. And how important of a skill it was. How learning to fall, and to hug yourself while you did it, was somehow the basis for everything else.
Let's just say, I'm still much preferring gymnastics to soccer. Falling lessons and all.