To start off my junior year of high school, and to "temporarily" put gymnastics on hold, I decided to try something that I had never let see the light of day: diving. In theory, there is a ton of gymnastics related skills involved- part of the reason one of my best friends and I were yearning to try.
There were no tryouts, the diving group was small and we were automatically put on JV. It was August, we had the rest of the summer to workout, and essentially, learn to dive. I was so out of shape I couldn't even keep up with the runs. I thought I had asthma. I had to get used to ice cold water. Right off the bat I have to say, the board is not a trampoline. Repeat, the board is not a trampoline. Guys and girls alike have injured themselves with the board. (I personally knew someone who hit their head freshman year of high school.) I quickly learned this, along with how to dive, approach and all, and names of dives. Forward, backward, inward, reverse, and twisting. Okay, front, back, and twisting I know, but what about the other two? Famous last words.
In an inward dive, there is no approach, you stand on the end of the board, backwards. Get enough momentum and propel your body backwards, feet in the air, and dive inwards, facing the same direction. Scary? You haven't heard anything yet. Perhaps the most frightening skill to learn (at least I think for beginners), is a reverse dive. Ever heard of a gainer in gymnastics? It's almost the same thing, except you're diving off a springboard into the water (which can brutally BRUISE your back or virtually any part of your body). Contrary to popular belief, you do NOT run off the board. We approached the end of the board like we normally would with a forward dive- three to four steps, arms swing up (at the exact moment you jump- crucial), give ourselves a single bounce and then... go for it. I ended up realizing doing a whole reverse back tuck is easier than just a dive. In all, you're facing forwards and then doing a back dive or flip. Hence reverse.
Eventually, everyone who was a beginner on the team quickly progressed, considering my best friend and I had an advantage, having done gymnastics. We started working on forward 1 1/2's, and eventually forward doubles. That was the fun part. I had always seen people do a front tuck into a dive (1 1/2) and wanted to do it. It was so exciting! Everything that we were working on came with a price: smacking the water- hard, and those bruises.
The other girls on the team had perfect form, and were competing really difficult skills, like backwards, reverse, and inward 1 1/2's and doubles, and full twists. My two best skills were a forward 1 1/2 and forward double. (They weren't as good as the varsity girls.) For my twisting dive (we needed at least one dive in every category) I competed a really bad, layed- out half. Form was never my forte (funny though, presently I tend to think of myself as more graceful than my past). Competing in diving wasn't completely as nerve- wracking as gymnastics, but I did tend to succumb to pressure due to anxiety.
My best friend and I ended up both quitting the team at different times. I know that if I didn't quit, I could be better. But I knew that I wasn't ever going to be good enough to do it in college, so it didn't matter. I was doing poorly in school at the time, and quitting just made me feel even worse. It made me think that all I ever did was quit or fail. I never knocked on wood.
All in all, I loved diving for what it was worth. Another sport of many I had done, another life lesson, another set of memories. I haven't touched a board since. Maybe this summer? Oh, and NEVER dive in a bikini. :)
xoxo lisa marie