The Balance Beam Situation

Because gymnastics is a comedy, not a drama

Things Are Happening – December 1, 2020

A. That Maggie Haney NYT Article

Ugh. Must we?

So, the New York Times published an article yesterday seeking to answer the question that no one was asking: “What’s Maggie Haney thinking?”

It’s a fairly ludicrous piece, one that goes too far to the side of uncritically presenting the views of this cult of gymnastics without contextualizing how bonkers what they’re saying is.

But it is obviously bonkers. That dad saying, “If I wanted her to come home happy and smiling every day, I’d send her to clown school” is a line I’ll never forget.

The real highlight comes right at the beginning, when Maggie completely unironically says the words, “I think my mistakes were that I cared too much.”

And my biggest weakness is that I’m a perfectionist. And my biggest challenge is how beautiful I am.

The self-awareness is just dripping off of this one.

It was all the caring you guys! Just so much caring. She cared so much that Riley McCusker went to Pan Ams and nationals following a rhabdomyolysis diagnosis. That’s what it means to care about Olympics I mean Riley. I’m just overwhelmed with all the caring about Riley that was going around last summer. Everyone had her mental well-being at heart.

Maggie’s quote is being roundly and justifiably mocked, but I actually do think a big problem for her is that she cares too much…about the wrong things. You see that in her comment at the end of the piece about gymnastics in the future being filled with underachievers. Oh, heaven forbid. It’s one of a kind with Maggie’s previous quote about Riley’s lawsuit not helping her get to the Olympics.

Um, if presented with the choice of going through what Laurie Hernandez went through or being an “underachiever,” any sane person would choose underachiever. Of course, that’s not an actual choice you’re forced to make and “Olympics” doesn’t have to equal “miserable,” but if it were a choice you had to make, you pick underachiever every time.

“Someone needs to stand up for the coaches” is another gem. Ma’am, you’ve just described the entirety of gymnastics culture until like one nanosecond ago.

The article also links to a Scientology recruitment video with the catchy title “shorter piece” in which the Maggie Bots tell you that the real problem is Laurie.

The video makes the point that Maggie is not as bad as a pedophile so it’s fine, featuring some serious cases of “I’ve never had COVID, ergo it is a hoax” reasoning throughout.

It includes actual parents making stunning arguments like, “finding a new gym counts as abuse” and “Laurie smiled before.” Well, I know I’m convinced.

This “I saw Laurie smile in March of 2016, so all of this must be a play for money somehow and that’s as far as I’ve gotten” business is quite similar to another Gymnast Alliance event going on this week, Pauline Schäfer’s accusations of abuse against her former coach. The club responded by posting a picture of a thank you note that Pauline wrote to her old coach. As though that’s supposed to tell us something. Um, let ye who has not written a lying thank you note to someone you hate cast the first stone.

What’s most alarming about that parent video is that apparently it was produced by a PR firm working with Maggie. So professionals thought this was a good idea.

Is it just me, or were you mostly left thinking, “You shouldn’t feel this strongly about your Level 7 daughter’s gymnastics coach.” Why are you that invested in her life?

Anyway, they had music playing in the gym so it was probably fine.

B. What Else?

–The European Championships in Turkey — still going on — changed the format to feature six countries in the team final instead of eight, the universal sign that things are going awesome. I view this as clear anti-Luxembourg bias, a vicious attempt to strip me of the joy of Luxembourg making a team final.

Meanwhile, for the junior women, there will be only event finals, and team and AA awards will be handed out based on qualification.

–In college land, we’re now at 9 schools that have canceled the 2021 season (Alaska, the Ivies, West Chester, and the DIII NY schools).

On the other hand, the SEC has released its season schedule, beginning on January 8th and featuring only in-conference meets, with two built-in weeks off in the event of COVID reschedules. Another universal sign that things are going awesome.

–The suspended Azarian coaches will have their suspensions lifted after completing some “educational requirements.” Raise your hand if you’re gullible enough to think that’s going to help.

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