Real Moms Of Gymnastic
Alright, before I get started, I have to give credit where credit is due. I stole the idea of this blog from one of my friend’s FB post. She was ordering a tee-shirt with this title, and when I saw it, I said to myself “you know what me, that would be a great idea for a post,” so here we are. Having been a Booster Club President in my former life, I couldn’t pass up a chance to write about something with a little comic relief but could bring a lot of value to parents who read it. In this blog, I am going to identify individual characters by their traits and talk about how they affect the overall morale of a team and even a gym.
Although I am a Cleveland boy (shout out to my Cleveland Browns), I currently reside in Atlanta, as such we will use the characters from the Atlanta House Wives(AHW), and although my wife watches AHW faithfully, I don’t so my character references might be dated.
The NeNe Leakes’s persona
The gymnastic parent version of Nene just like on the show version is a shit starter and just like the show, she is smooth in that she will get everyone else riled up over an issue that is actually only specific to her. She is the parent who will talk about the coaches showing favoritism to individual athletes. The reality is she is the parent who is always late, gymnast not focused, always behind on her dues and it is like pulling teeth to get booster club payments from this type of parent. This persona believes there is strength in numbers, so she is always searching to get others on her side. She will use terms like “I don’t think they treat OUR level fair” when truthfully it is only her gymnast that she perceives to be treated unjustly. If you have a meeting with the coaches with this parent you quickly find out most of the issues discussed are issues related specifically to her gymnasts.
This persona is terrible news for a gym in that she will get the parents of her entire level viewed poorly by coaches. When she talks to coaches alone to strengthen her argument, she will use terms like “our level feels” which will make the coaches think the rest of the parents are in agreement with her drama.
If you are reading this, and you are this persona then “girl why are you always starting shit?” but if you are not this person but have her on your team then whenever she brings up an issue to you say “naw, I don’t see it like that.” and keep it moving.
The Kandi Burruss’s persona
The gymnastic version of Kandi is all talk and no action. This parent is always talking about leaving the gym but never does although everyone wishes she would. Every year at the end of the season she talks about looking at other gyms but she is always giving the coaches one more chance (to their dismay), but they better get some “act right” this time. This parent isn’t dangerous to the overall morale of a gym or level she is more-or-less a nuisance because in the back of their head parents are always saying “Bye Felicia.”
Porsha Williams persona
What can I say, the Porsha Williams persona is just lost. She has no idea what is going on in the gym. She doesn’t remember when she needs to be at a competition, no idea what is happening in general. The only thing she does well is make her payments on time, go figure. In an effort not to disparage anyone persona too much just watch this video and this pretty much sums up the Porsha persona
The Kenya Moore’s persona
This is the “it is always someone else’s fault” persona. Of all the drama-filled parent this is typically the most common. The parent will make statements like “the coaches are not approachable,” “the booster club is not approachable,” “ownership is not approachable.” This is the parent who never received the important email, who wasn’t told about the meeting and my personal favorite they had no idea a booster club payment was due. This is a parent who always complains about the “lack” of communication. This parent has minimal impact on a level or team, but they are a nightmare for coaches and support staff.
The Cynthia Bailey’s persona
This poor persona is always the sacrificial lamb. She is consistently voted to be the spokesman who represents the injustices for everyone at the booster club meeting. She is the one to fall on the sword for the rest of the group. This persona is the NeNe’s best friend because she is the most gullible. The NeNe’s of the world will make statements like “you should go talk to the coaches because they will listen to you” or “you should talk to the coaches because you have a better relationship with them than we do” or my personal favorite “it will come out better if it comes from you.” If you are this persona, then understand NeNe is not your friend. If you have an issue, then represent yourself. You are being asked to be the spoke person because you are not afraid to take matters head-on which is an excellent quality. Just make sure the issues you are addressing are your own and not someone else’s. If you choose to be the sacrificial lamb, please tell the cook to add an extra side of mint jelly with my lamb chops for when you get roasted.
The Marlo Hampton’s persona
This persona is “bout dat life.” She is the parent that everyone tries to stay away from because she is embarrassing. She is loud and rude, and she wants everyone to know she is unhappy. People tend to choose their words wisely around her because they know one wrong word and things can go all the way left quickly. This person has a pretty significant impact on a level and team because people (including coaches) walk on eggshells around her. Due to her volatility, the coaches usually give this persona’s gymnast more freedom than the rest of the team which creates some resentment from other parents.
Phaedra Parks persona
This persona doesn’t know when to quit. What I am about to write may sound harsh but it entirely true although most coaches may not admit it. The reality is in youth sports a parent is only as relevant as their child is competitive. What that means in the gymnastics world is, the more competitive your child is, the less expendable as a family you are, basically stay in your lane. The problem with this persona is that they tend to look at their child through a rosier lens than most people which makes them believe they can cross more lines with coaches than most people. This persona ends up being the proverbial “damnnnn” conversation that periodically takes place in the gym. The conversation goes something like this,
Gossiper One: hey, guess who got kicked off the team this morning because she cussed out the coaches?
Gossiper Two: Let me guess, Phaedra?
Gossiper One: Correct!
Gossiper Three: Damnnnnn, but I knew it
Gossiper Two: ……..I need to call her.
Shereé Whitfield persona
This persona is unusual in that she is a walking, talking human version of the Alexa app. She will give you the scoop on what has gone down in the gym “good or bad.” Often you wonder how in the hell she gets this information, but when you ask her, it is always “a friend of mine.” The problem with this persona is that she often reveals information that wasn’t supposed to get out. When she gets called on it, this persona acts like she is being attacked. A word to the wise for this persona “just because you know something doesn’t always mean you should share it.”
Kim Zolciak-Biermann persona
This persona is the only smart person out the bunch. This parent realizes their gymnast is practicing well, competing well, getting a fair amount of focus from the coaches. She understands that although everything may not be perfect, it could definitely be worse. She typically stays away from the other personas and makes sure to talk to coaches separately regarding any concerns. The other parents consider her standoff-ish, but in actuality, she is just smart.
Finally, funny side note. While out for breakfast my wife asked me what persona she most closely represents, and I told her Kandi’s, she almost choked. She asked me why and I said to her that she acts like she about that life but she ain’t really “that chick.” She acts hard at home talking about what the coaches “ain’t doin” like..
but at the gym, she like “Hey Coaches….luv ya’ll”….
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Until next time, peace and soul….