|Bela Karolyi : If Blogspot would let me tattoo "666" on his forehead, I would.|
|Marta Karolyi : I would add horns except that I lack the means to do so with this program|
Last night I read Off Balance: a Memoir by Dominque Moceanu. Moceanu was a member of the 1996 US Olympic gold medal women's gymnastics team. the book was both informative and depressing. Much of what she wrote was subject matter with which I was already familiar, as I wasn't far from the elite level of gymnastics when I performed my legendary back walkover followed by a cartwheel on the upper beam of the roof of our two-story house. Thus abruptly ended my gymnastics career. Now that I'm eighteen and can no longer be protected from my own idiocy, of which there is less from which I need to be protected, I might add, I dabble in gymnastics. i took courses in gymnastics and tumbling to fulfill fitness course requirements, and the department head gave me carte blanch to use the gym facilities anytime someone from the staff was legally on duty.
Some of what I read from Ms. Moceanu's book was mind-boggling, though. I've never liked what I've heard about Bela and Marta Karolyi, the Romanian couple who escaped the Ceausescu regime to essentially take over gymnastics in the U.S. One thing I find ironic is why the Karolyis ever left Romania when their style of coaching was so perfectly suited to a totalitarian regime in which they had total control over their protegees and could beat them or do whatever they wanted to the young female gymnasts.
As it stood, because Ms. Moceanu was herself the child of Romanian immigrants, Karolyi could simply ask Ms. Moceanu's father to beat her and he would do so. He, too, was old-school Romanian, and he thought his daughter's chances for success were totally controlled by the Karolyis. He probably would have had all her teeth pulled if Bela or Marta had said that it was necessary for her gymnastics success.
Marta Karolyi in particular at the present, if I'm correct, still wields more control over the sport of women's gymnastics in the U. S. than does any other single individual. Why do we let these people immigrate from a totalitarian regime (I believe they came when the Soviet Bloc was still intact, but I don't think Romania is exactly the land of the free and the home of the brave even today) and turn women's gymnastics into a dictatorship? This is America. We don't have to tolerate such nonsense. Relegate the Karolyis to an old folks' home and give them dolls to mistreat instead of allowing them to starve and psychologically abuse real girls, all the while holding the girls' gymnastics careers over their heads.
Dominique Moceanu had a limited-at-best chance at a normal childhood even without the Karolyis' "intervention." Dominique's father was so accustomed to having is own way and to making the lives of his wife and children miserable if they offered the slightest resistance that Dominique's chances for anything close to idyllic by way of family life were incredibly slim.
As a brief side note, it isn't easy to find picture of the Karolyis with stern expressions. Those who have trained under them will say that they behave one way when cameras are around and another way when there's no one there to record their facial expressions or actions.
I think about myself and gymnastics sometimes. My parents would never have allowed me to live anywhere other than in our family home while I trained, nor would they have uprooted our family for the benefit of my gymnastics career. Whatever gym was within driving range of our home would have been where I trained as long as it had a reputation for being safe. If I had told my parents anyone psychologically abused me, that would have been the end of my attendance at that gym, and if I had said I was tired of it, I probably would have been required to finish out the minimum number of hours for the interval that my parents had already paid the tuition, but I then would have been encouraged to quit. (As it stood, when I performed my rooftop gymnastics maneuvers, my parents left several thousand dollars worth of tuition sitting at the gym, unused.)
My childhood would have been different from that of Ms, Moceanu because my parents' style of raising children was so very different. My parents were not from eastern bloc counties. My mother was not afraid in the least of my father, and they got along well as far as I could tell. My parents didn't need to live their lives through me or my brother. They had us because they wanted children, not because we were their tickets to success in life. They'd already had plenty of success in life on their own without needing to draw upon us to provide it for them.
Our home was not a democracy, and even isn't to this day, although I have freedom to speak my mind since I've reached the magical age of eighteen. Prior to my turning eighteen, most things were open for discussion to a point, but once a decision had been made, that was it, and to continue to debate after being told the answer was no would have resulted in negative consequences.
I have a savings account with money I've earned that's fairly substantial for a person my age who is not a movie star or teen singing sensation because my piano and organ skills commandeered decent wages. There were times when I thought that once a reached a certain age, I was going to do a given thing with my money because it was and is my money. One thing kept me from ever making that statement to my parents, or still making it. It is my money, but I like the idea of a safety net should something go wrong with my money. My parents have a lot more money than I do.
I used to watch "The Cosby Show" reruns. This particular episode, or clip from it, resonated with me. I know that if I had complained about not being able to use "my money" in the way I so chose, my parents' reaction would have been similar to that of the fictional Huxtable parents. (So parents out there, TV can be a valuable tool.) Someday my money will be totally up to me to spend; not yet, though.
realistic TV if you live in my house