But Why Get Angry?

Why do rhythmic gymnastics coaches get so angry? Other than the obvious answer: because they are human beings, too.

Well, let me start by saying that I am not discussing coaches in other sports and I will not use any of the hundreds of videos of soccer coaches, basketball coaches or other coaches yelling at athletes (or at referees, for that matter). But I will put a video of Irina Viner here, which has captured some of her angriest moments, and some where she is applauding, too:

The part where she is clearly rude to Zarina Gizikova after a messy club routine is a very popular segment. Many have used it to point what a terrible person Viner is. And, on top of that, she also calls Kabaeva fat. I mean, imagine the thousands of hours these gymnasts spend in practice with Viner that nobody is there to film. It must be a nightmare. She is one angry person. Totally can't control herself. Right?

Well, let's think about it logically. Gizikova was a fine gymnast, who, in this instance, did a truly terrible job. But let me remind you that there are hundreds of girls in Russia who could perform this routine. Viner has coached many of these girls and, if she isn't working with them, she knows where to find them for sure. So why yell at Gizikova? Why not just tell her that she will no longer compete for the national team and replace her with the next extremely talented person? You know, anger and resentment do not "get you anywhere."

The thing is, by yelling at Gizikova, Viner is not trying to "get somewhere." There is no list of goals under her arm that she could check off one by one. That checklist is in the gym when they train: do this element 100 times, check, and then, the next one. Actually, all of these goals have been accomplished anyway. Gizikova CAN do and HAS done this routine without mistakes many times. We all have seen her do it and so have her coaches. She just made a mess out of it, this time around. Getting angry doesn't make it better and leads nowhere. It won't get you a gold medal. The clubs are lying on the floor.

Except, you know, no one gets angry thinking that she will accomplish a specific goal. "Let me scream for 5 minutes, this will fix the problem," said nobody ever. Everyone knows full well, even as they scream in anger, that they will achieve nothing by doing it.

So why would a powerful, middle-aged and very, very successful person act so blatantly mad? I mean, we are not talking about a confused teenager here. This is not a driver stuck in traffic either. What do you think?

I think she just cares. She cares about this girl, who, to everyone else, is just another one of hundreds of gymnasts. Replaceable, even to the fans. I think that when you like and love somebody and when you have spent countless hours with them working on something, a shared dream perhaps, or even just a job, you know, a paying job, you would feel very misguided not to get angry when they fail. It would mean that you never expected anything good of this person and of yourself. If Viner didn't believe Gizikova to be capable of great things, she would have never yelled at her. She would have never coached her either.

Call it what you will; I'd call it " a natural consequence of commitment." All people should reserve the right to get really mad every once in a while at those who they find worth the trouble. Yes, anger will accomplish absolutely nothing. But, although we like to look at sports, or at life, as a series of accomplishments, that series has to start somewhere. It starts when you decide that you want to be someone's friend, or coach, or colleague. The one and only way to avoid anger with certainty is to never put your heart into anything at all.


  1. Моля Ви, Луда Фенка постнете това и на българския си блог! Моите мисли, моите чувства, с точните думи! Пуснах си отново филмите за Нешка, в една от книгите на Марги Рангелова има едно изречение, че "ако човек от вън попадне в залата ще си помисли, че този спорт си е едно непрекъснато крещене и късане на нерви", да ама не и точно за това съм лудо влюбена в процесът по правене на тази красота, прекланям се пред труда на всяко момиче влязло в зала за художествена гимнастика, защото в нея няма място за страхливи хора! Тези момичета и треньорките им са ГРАМАДАНСКИ талантливи и упорити!

    1. Да! Ще пусна текст на български най-вероятно утре. Може би ще е малко различен от този, но със същата идея. Благодаря много за коментара. :)