Monday, October 22, 2012

My GymCastic Stint

As I already posted about on this site about a month ago--there's a new gymnastics podcast in town, punnily called "GymCastic." (Download it from iTunes or Stitcher) And this week I joined the podcast crew, which should be something of a more regular thing. It was a lot of fun. 

I'm really excited about the potential of a podcast such as one like GymCastic (so kudos to Jessica O'Beirne for all the work she's put into it). What I and many other gymnastics fans have always wanted has been an in-depth, intelligent discussion of the sport that has been sorely lacking in the mainstream media. The reason for the shallowness of the analysis is easy to understand--the researchers and commentators aren't thinking about what the knowledgeable fan wishes to see and hear. Rather, they're tasked with appealing to the largest possible audience, most of whom follow gymnastics only during Olympic years. (Still, I think they underestimate this segment of the population, who can certainly handle a bit more. My friends, all of whom are not fans of the sport, often complain about the silliness of mainstream broadcasts at the Olympics.)

Of course, it doesn't have to all be serious. We're not exactly discussing the drug war. (I just saw the documentary The House I Live In so that is very much on my brain.) It's gymnastics--it should be fun both in practice and discussion. Hence Uncle Tim's hilarious question for this week's guest, 2008 and 2012 Olympian Jonathan Horton about the varying degrees of hirsuteness of male gymnasts. At times, my thoughts have drifted to the body hair habits of male gymnasts. But Uncle Tim had the courage to ask Horton about it. He's the real journalist. 

(I'm always a little taken aback when a gymnast raises his arm to salute and there's a large tuft of hair under his arm. But then again, I have no problem with that in the context of everyday life. Maybe it's just the combo of spandex and body hair that is surprising and jarring?)

Obviously, this--recording and producing a podcast--is new for all of us involved and we hope to show improvement as we move forward. (I already know from recording interviews for articles that I say "like" and "um" far too much for comfort. I cringe as I'm forced to listen while transcribing. I will work on that.) And I have no doubt that the Gymternet will freely share feedback and suggestions. We're not exactly a quiet, passive lot.

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