Full-Time Fan

As a start-of-the-year present, I got myself a perfect piece of clothing: a hoodie with two pockets, and a zipper, with a gymnast print, in blue. I love it.

I already shared on my Bulgarian blog that I have been writing about gymnastics here for two years now. In the winter of 2010, when I started my English-language blog, I was a tax consultant at a Big 4 firm and watched gymnastics routines during my lunch break.

Later, I switched to a smaller firm in the hopes of finding a better work-life balance but ended up working on most Saturdays and eating dinner at the office quite often. I still kept watching gymnastics in my lunch break and during other times. I could have used my free time for more practical purposes, but I also could have sillier things. Imagine all the reality shows I did not watch!

Nowadays, my life has become even fuller. I still do some part-time work as a lawyer and I have a six-month old daughter, and so I watch some gymnastics while she is napping. I can't honestly say that I'd like her to become a gymnast, nor do I expect her to turn out athletic at all. I would feel very happy, though, if she grows to appreciate people who work hard, find creative ways to express themselves, and develop a strong personality. I have yet to meet a gymnast who doesn't continuously build her character and style so I remain hopeful that any exposure to gymnastics, as a fan, can only bring benefits.

For me, anyway, the life of a crazy fan has brought more enjoyment than I really thought possible. Sometimes I surprise myself with how much I actually like this, a wonderful surprise. The main feature of a true fan is to remain passionate under all circumstances and to feel thrilled, amazed, and inspired. To produce that kind of wonder and warmth in one's soul requires a full-time commitment in the sense that your focus and faithfulness never shift. You can't love other activities as much. And I don't.

Rhythmic gymnastics has been my passion for about 20 years but I'd like to hope that I have not become entirely blind to its dangers and weaknesses. A very subjective sport, which sometimes leads to injuries, and never leads to as much money or fame as other sports. A girls' only activity, where a lot of young women end up struggling body image, definitions of beauty and crazy competitiveness. A sport that some popular American talk show hosts think doesn't deserve serious attention. Well, they can make fun of us all they want, but this sport has spread the flight of its ribbons on all continents now and if you doubt me even a little bit, watch the beautiful, beautiful gymnast from Egypt who performed at the London Olympics in 2012.

I wonder how many hours per week this girl spends at the gym. Probably a lot more than I spend watching performances, thinking about them or writing here. But, you know, I got really lucky. I don't even really worry about staying in shape. ;-) I became a full-time fan.

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