I just got a call from a gymnast, asking if I still had any copies of her old floor music. Basically everything that has ever been on my computer(s) about gymnastics, I have saved on one of my hard drives, so hopefully I will be able help her. She just wants them for posterity, but it made me think how quickly and easily all of this gets lost or forgotten. For example, she could only remember one of the names of the songs for her floor music (maybe remember?). She is now still a college gymnast, but already all of her optional floor music is potentially lost and gone forever? How quickly it all fades away.
The Gymnastics Music Box Collection
So, I have to recommend to all gymnasts and gymnastics team parents, that not only do they save copies of the gymnast’s floor music, separately, and with videos of the floor routine, but that they start now and build a collection of all their gymnast’s gymnastics treasures. You have the choice to record the music digitally or even just throw the CDs in a (clearly marked) box and save them all in one place.
Many gymnasts save their medals, but soon have no idea what any of the old medals were for. You need to establish some kind of system for identifying them. My guess is a sticker on the back with the info would work best. For the museum, of course, you want, not only the medal, but a picture of the gymnast wearing the medal at the meet or the video of them receiving the medal on the awards stand. Match up the stickers on the medals with the pictures and videos, so you can always know which were which.
The Gymnastics Apparel Museum Collection
I saw a great video?/collection of photographs, where a gymnast had every competition leotard she had ever worn. She laid them all out in her living room and took pictures and had a story for each one – Priceless. Another gymnast I know has a complete collection of all her grips, including ripped grips and grips with bloodstains still visible. Come on, how cute would it be to have a slideshow/video of all a gymnast’s leotards, warm-up suits over the years? I don’t recommend saving any, and certainly not all, of the various casts, braces, etc. from any injuries some gymnasts might have had, but I have talked to other gymnasts who still have them (none of my own gymnasts had any serious injuries in the gym).
The (Ongoing) Gymnastics Resume’
I have advocated keeping an ongoing gymnastics resume for years, listing every award ever won. I suspect that may eventually have some value, when applying for a gymnastics college scholarship, but also can be a motivator when a gymnast is down and has forgotten all of the progress they have made. It is amazing how the mind can so easily forget the successes, but has no trouble remembering failure, mistakes or focusing on skills that a gymnast can not yet do. A resume’ gives the proper perspective.
Team Picture and Photo Gallery
If you think it is hard trying to remember who that girl in your team picture from two years ago, imagine how hard it will be to remember 20 years from now. I know many Elite level and Olympic and International Championship gymnasts, who cannot remember who they went to National training camp with, or who other gymnasts are in a picture from the Olympics or World Championships. Organize, tag and save your pictures now, so you can remember who everyone is later. You will eventually want your whole collection of team photos (tagged) saved in one place.
Digital Video History
A digital collection of all a gymnast’s video history can be a very useful tool in reminding a gymnast exactly how far they have come. This is especially useful when gymnasts are struggling to learn a new skill, have lost perspective or forgotten how much they have improved since the beginning of their gymnastics career (or even just from last year). Here organization is, again, the key. Videos on a variety of tapes, digital cards and various hard drives need to be collected, organized and saved in one place (actually 3 places for back-up security would be best).
A List of All Coaches
I often wish I had access to these. It is amazing how many coaches a successful gymnast had, ten years later. Seems the more successful a gymnast is, the more coaches they have taking credit for their success. Amazing how many coaches an Elite gymnast can have, even ones who didn’t start coaching until after that gymnast had already retired. But for gymnasts, at some point, they may want to remember all of the coaches they had in the past.
Coaches should keep their own museum as well. It wouldn’t seem likely that a coach could forget the names of Elite and National Championship medalists that they coached, but it happens. And certainly, it is impossible to remember all of the State and Regional Champions over a long career, unless you keep track as you go along. The Team Picture gallery would be a good thing to keep, as well, along with a list of all your gymnast’s accomplishments. You should need a list of those each year for your Team banquet, so just organize yourself to maintain the lists.
This is a project that gets hard to impossible to do quickly. You may already have missed years of material, but that is no reason not to get started today. I guarantee that at some time in the future, you will be glad that you have organized and collected all of this. The really good collections I have seen (like the leotard collection) are interesting, not just to those gymnasts, but even to strangers. So keep your gymnastics memories alive and well (and well organized).